§ 151.217  BUFFER REQUIREMENTS FOR WETLANDS.
   The requirements of this section are not applicable to wetlands or waters of the U.S. that, in either case, are below the threshold-size limitations for mitigation requirements under the COE 404 permit program.
   (A)    Buffers shall be identified on development plans for all areas defined as waters of the U.S. Buffer areas are divided into two types: linear buffers and water body buffers.
      (1)   Buffer areas, including the protected waters of the U.S., shall be shown to be within appropriate easements on all new plats. Additionally, the maintenance requirements for the buffer shall be noted on the plat or included as a covenant running with the land in any deed conveying any portion of a buffer area.
      (2)   Buffer widths required as a part of a COE permit supersede the widths required in this section, unless the width required herein is greater. If a COE permit is obtained to permanently fill a portion of a wetland and no buffer is required, the buffer width required by this subchapter immediately adjacent to the area of impact does not apply. IMMEDIATELY ADJACENT refers to the area within 15 feet of the area of impact. In no case shall additional wetland area be filled to provide buffer required by this subchapter.
      (3)   Jurisdictional waters of the U.S. or wetlands may not constitute a buffer. Buffer widths are to be 25 feet unless otherwise determined using the criteria specified below. Buffer width averaging is acceptable at the discretion of the Administrator. When using buffer width averaging, the width may not be more than 20% less, at the narrowest point, than the specified width. The buffer width may never be less than 15 feet, except in the case of waters of the U.S. or wetlands with a calculated FQI of less than seven, where the buffer at its narrowest point may not be less than 12 feet in width.
         (a)   Linear buffers shall be designated along waters of the U.S. and wetlands associated with water courses, i.e., swales, creeks, streams, rivers, and the like. Refer to division (A)(3)(b) below in cases where wetlands are adjacent to and not part of the main channel, i.e., floodplain wetland, backwater slough, oxbow, bordering wetland complex.
            1.   When the lineal waters of the U.S. have a drainage area greater than 640 acres, measured at the downstream property line, or is designated as ADID because of high habitat value or an adjacent wetland has a calculated FQI greater than 16, the buffer shall be 50 feet.
            2.   When the lineal waters of the U.S. have a drainage area less than 640 acres, measured at the downstream property line, the buffer width shall be determined utilizing the formula,
               X = (A*0.0547)+ 15
               Where X equals the buffer width in feet, and A equals the drainage area in acres.
The width calculated by this formula shall be rounded up to the nearest multiple of five.
            3.   If protective measures are installed along the perimeter of a buffer, the width may be reduced by up to 10% immediately adjacent to the protective measure. The reduction in width that may be applied due to installation of protective measures may not be applied where buffer width averaging has been used and the buffer would be more than 20% less than originally specified. Protective measures may consist of fencing, sediment basins, biological filter strips or other methods approved by the Administrator.
            4.    If lineal waters of the U.S. are completely or partially relocated, the newly created portion must be constructed in a manner that will allow naturalizing to occur; for example, meandering, pools, riffles and the like. Additionally, all disturbed areas must be replanted for stability with native vegetation where appropriate, appropriately managed and maintained and protected by an appropriately-sized buffer.
         (b)   Water body buffers shall encompass non-linear bodies of water meeting the definition of the waters of the U.S., including wetlands.
            1.   If protective measures are installed along the perimeter of a buffer, the width may be reduced by up to 10% immediately adjacent to the protective measure. The reduction in width that may be applied due to installation of protective measures may not be applied where buffer width averaging has been used and the buffer would be more than 20% less than originally specified. Protective measures may consist of fencing, sediment basins, biological filter strips or other methods approved by the Administrator.
            2.   For all non-lineal water bodies or waters of the U.S. designated as ADID or wetlands with an FQI greater than 16, a minimum buffer width must be established in accordance with Table 1.
            3.   For non-ADID wetlands with an FQI of 7 to 16, a minimum buffer width must be established in accordance with Table 2.
            4.    For non-ADID wetlands with an FQI of less than 7, a minimum buffer width must be established in accordance with Table 3.
   (B)   Buffers shall be replanted or reseeded using appropriate predominately-native, deep-rooted vegetation, appropriately managed and maintained following disturbance.
   (C)   The buffer area for all lineal and non-lineal waters of the U.S., except wetlands, shall extend from the jurisdictional limits of the waters of the U.S. ordinary high water mark. The buffer area for wetlands shall extend from the edge of the approved delineated wetland boundary. A site may contain a buffer that originates from a waters of the U.S. or wetland located on another property.
   (D)   Constructed stormwater management features shall not require a buffer and may constitute  as a buffer. The total width of the buffer required may not be reduced by the installation of a stormwater management facility unless the facility can be considered a protective measure. If the facility can be considered to be a protective measure, then the width of the buffer may be reduced as specified in this subchapter.
   (E)   If a buffer area is disturbed by permitted activities during construction, the buffer strip shall be stabilized in accordance with this subchapter.
   (F)   Access through buffer areas shall be allowed when necessary for maintenance purposes only. Unless otherwise dedicated for a public purpose, buffer areas shall remain private property and are not generally accessible to the public.
   (G)   Unrestrained stormwater that has not passed through a site runoff storage facility shall discharge through an area or structure meeting the definition of best management practices or buffer before entering the jurisdictional waters of the U.S. or a wetland.
      (1)   Once established, all buffer areas shall be maintained free from development, except as described below:
         (a)   A buffer area may be used for passive recreation (e.g., bird watching, walking, jogging, bicycling, horseback riding and picnicking), and it may contain pedestrian, bicycle or equestrian trails, provided that the created path is no wider than ten feet. To help prevent erosion, paths leading to a wetland must be winding.
         (b)   Utility maintenance, maintenance of drainage facilities and drainage easements shall be allowed, provided the maintenance activity meets all other federal, state and local regulations.
         (c)   Anchoring and placement of boat docks and piers shall be allowed, provided the structure meets all other federal, state and local regulations.
   TABLE 1 – HIGH QUALITY WETLANDS – FQI > 16
Buffer Ratio
Wetland Area (Acres)
Buffer Area (Acres)
Buffer Width (Feet)
0.5
0.25
0.125
15.0
0.5
0.5
0.25
20.0
0.5
0.75
0.375
25.0
0.5
1.0
0.5
30.0
0.5
1.25
0.625
30.0
0.5
1.5
0.75
35.0
0.5
1.75
0.875
35.0
0.5
2.0
1.0
40.0
0.5
2.25
1.125
40.0
0.5
2.5
1.25
45.0
0.5
2.75
1.375
45.0
0.5
3.0
1.5
50.0
0.5
3.25
1.625
50.0
0.5
3.5
1.75
50.0
0.5
3.75
1.875
50.0
0.5
4.0
2.0
50.0
0.5
4.25
2.125
50.0
0.5
4.5
2.25
50.0
0.5
4.75
2.375
50.0
0.5
5.0 or more
2.5
50.0
 
      Buffer ratio = % of total wetland area
      Wetland Area = Total onsite and offsite area of the wetland
      Buffer Area = Wetland Area x Buffer Ratio
      Buffer Width =
   TABLE 2 – MEDIUM QUALITY WETLANDS – 7 < FQI < 16
Buffer Ratio
Wetland Area (Acres)
Buffer Area (Acres)
Buffer Width (Feet)
0.4
0.25
0.1
15.0
0.4
0.5
0.2
15.0
0.4
0.75
0.3
20.0
0.4
1.0
0.4
25.0
0.4
1.25
0.5
25.0
0.4
1.5
0.6
30.0
0.4
1.75
0.7
30.0
0.4
2.0
0.8
30.0
0.4
2.25
0.9
35.0
0.4
2.5
1.0
35.0
0.4
2.75
1.1
35.0
0.4
3.0
1.2
40.0
0.4
3.25
1.3
40.0
0.4
3.5
1.4
40.0
0.4
3.75
1.5
45.0
0.4
4.0
1.6
45.0
0.4
4.25
1.7
45.0
0.4
4.5
1.8
45.0
0.4
4.75
1.9
50.0
0.4
5.0 or more
2.0
50.0
 
      Buffer ratio = % of total wetland area
      Wetland Area = Total onsite and offsite area of the wetland
      Buffer Area = Wetland Area x Buffer Ratio
      Buffer Width =
   TABLE 3 – LOW QUALITY WETLANDS – FQI < 7
Buffer Ratio
Wetland Area (Acres)
Buffer Area (Acres)
Buffer Width (Feet)
0.3
0.25
0.075
15.0
0.3
0.5
0.15
15.0
0.3
0.75
0.225
15.0
0.3
1.0
0.3
20.0
0.3
1.25
0.375
20.0
0.3
1.5
0.45
20.0
0.3
1.75
0.525
25.0
0.3
2.0
0.6
25.0
0.3
2.25
0.675
25.0
0.3
2.5
0.75
25.0
0.3
2.75
0.825
30.0
0.3
3.0
0.9
30.0
0.3
3.25
0.975
30.0
0.3
3.5
1.05
30.0
0.3
3.75
1.125
35.0
0.3
4.0
1.2
35.0
0.3
4.25
1.275
35.0
0.3
4.5
1.35
35.0
0.3
4.75
1.425
35.0
0.3
5.0
1.5
35.0
 
      Buffer ratio = % of total wetland area
      Wetland Area = Total onsite and offsite area of the wetland
      Buffer Area = Wetland Area x Buffer Ratio
      Buffer Width =
(Ord. 2019-03, passed 4-15-2019)