Wetlands Emergency Process

All sorts of ’emergencies’ may occur. That’s just the way of the world. And, no matter what definition of emergency is being used, there will always be a need to judge if the particular facts of a situation fit the definition, e.g., is this situation actually an immediate threat to life?

Often, the authority/responsibility to make that judgment is delegated to a specific governmental agency, division, body, or office holder. And deciding ‘whether or not an emergency exists’ is a separate/different matter from the authority/process of ‘deciding what may be done to abate the emergency’.

In certain specific situations, the ConCom bears the responsibility to decide. Sometimes that responsibility is borne by the Board of Health (BOH).

So, for example, what if a potential ’emergency’ is occurring on land protected as a wetlands resource? Or, what if the potential ’emergency’ is in an area within the jurisdiction of the Scenic Mountain Act (SMA). Would I need to contact the ConCom?

First, there are zero/nada/no emergency processes under the SMA so it’s always addressed via a normal process. (I literally cannot think of an ‘SMA emergency situation’ example.) Contact the ConCom agent.

Second, if the potential emergency situation involves a wetlands resource area, Richmond ConCom will almost always be required to evaluate and/or act on it.

And third, if it is beaver activity in a wetlands, the decision of whether or not it’s an emergency, falls to the BOH but the ConCom has a role in the resolution.

The ConCom recently created a helpful flow chart to help citizens, town officials, and town staff understand how to proceed if a potential emergency is happening in our wetlands: 

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