find some protection in the Clear Water Act. A permit,
issued by the Corps of Engineers, is required for
any dredging or filling of navigable waters, including wetlands.
Wetlands which do not flow directly into navigable waters
may not be protected by federal law, however. Many
states have their own statutes which protect wetlands.
West Virginia's statute, discussed below, includes wetlands
in the definition of "waters" subject to protection.
Even so, there is no specific state law in West Virginia
requiring permits for activity which affects wetlands.
Federal NPDES permit regulations
define wetlands to "generally include swamps, marshes,
bogs, and similar areas." 40 CFR sec. 122.
The definition speaks of areas that are "inundated
or saturated" so that the area supports "a prevalence
of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil
conditions." There is a multi-federal agency
manual on point which has been the subject of debate between
developers and protectors of wetlands.
Last updated on Monday, July 17, 2000