Wetlands and Watercourses

The edge of a wetlands or watercourse (wetland boundary) is determined by soil types, which is done by a soil scientist. This person will come out to your property to take soil borings and determine the location of the wetland.

If you see these tags or ones that are similar, then you know you have a wetland on your site.Image

The blue tags mean you have a conservation easement on the property, and you should consult your deed for a description.


The red tag means there is a 100 foot area around the wetland that requires a permit before any activities can be done (cutting trees, clearing, filling).

You can find a listing of soil scientists at The Society of Soil Scientists of Southern New England.

Inland Wetlands Permit Application
Please be sure to include with your Inland Wetlands Application the following:

  • How you will minimize impact.
  • A site plan showing the proposed development, limits of clearing, wetland delineation, current buildings and roads.
  • A check payable to the Town of East Lyme. The Conservation Agent can assist you with the amount required.
  • You (or a representative) will be presenting your application at the meeting.

Typically, the Saturday prior to a meeting, members of the Inland Wetlands Agency and the Wetlands Enforcement Officer visit the site to observe existing conditions.

How long does the application process take?

The process takes at least 2 meetings. The Date of Receipt of the application is the date of the first meeting the application is reviewed by the Agency. According to State Statute, commissions must wait fifteen-days from the date of receipt of an application to render a decision in order to provide the public an opportunity to petition a request for a public hearing. Therefore, applications must remain on the Agency’s agenda at least two meetings before a decision may be rendered.

Since time is of the essence when building, it is advised that applications be submitted as soon as possible. The Inland Wetlands Agency must approve permit applications prior to approval from the remaining commissions.

There are some projects that can be approved in a faster time frame by the Inland Wetlands Enforcement Officer in-house. This is for sheds, decks, most pool projects, or some landscaping.

Permit Forms

Permit applications are also available in the Land Use Department located on the lower level of Town Hall. The fee ranges depending on the proposed activity.