6 CRR-NY 661.2NY-CRR
6 CRR-NY 661.2
6 CRR-NY 661.2
(a) Tidal wetlands constitute one of the most vital and productive areas of the natural world and collectively have many values. These values include, but are not limited to, marine food production, wildlife habitat, flood and storm and hurricane control, recreation, cleansing ecosystems, sedimentation control, education and research, and open space and aesthetic appreciation, as set forth in the legislative findings contained in section 1 of chapter 790 of the Laws of 1973. Therefore, the protection and preservation of tidal wetlands are essential.
(b) Several ecological zones exist in tidal wetlands. These several zones are as follows: coastal fresh marsh; intertidal marsh; coastal shoals, bars and flats; littoral zone; high marsh or salt meadow; and formerly connected tidal wetlands. In addition, adjacent areas, which are important to the protection of tidal wetlands values, adjoin these tidal wetlands zones.
(c) These tidal wetlands zones collectively serve all of the tidal wetland values set forth in chapter 790 of the Laws of 1973. However, because of their different natural characteristics, each zone may serve any particular value to a greater or lesser degree than other zones. The varied natural characteristics of the several tidal wetlands zones, including their functions, contour, biota, tidal action, water quality and in particular their respective contributions to the marine food chain, cause certain zones to be relatively more sensitive to the adverse impacts caused by land used and development. Similarly, these varied natural characteristics make it important to more stringently protect and preserve certain tidal wetlands zones relative to other zones. However, any ranking of the value of different tidal wetland zones is general in nature, and specific exceptions to such a ranking do occur.
(d) Intertidal marsh and coastal fresh marsh tidal wetlands are the most biologically productive of all tidal wetlands areas. Furthermore, since they receive twice-daily tidal flushing, the products of vegetative photosynthetic activity and decomposition in these zones are readily transported to adjacent waters for use in the estuarine food chain. Their intertidal location also makes them among the most effective wetland zones for flood and hurricane and storm protection. Both their intertidal location and their highly productive nature makes them among the most effective wetland zones for cleansing ecosystems and for absorbing silt and organic material. Because of these high values and their sensitive location at the land and water interface, intertidal and coastal fresh marshes must be the most stringently protected and preserved tidal wetlands zones. Even small portions of these zones are critically important resources. Consequently, only very limited types of land use and development are compatible with the values of these areas.
(e) Coastal shoals, bars, and flats and littoral zones include areas of extreme variability in their contributions to marine food production and other tidal wetland values, and each such area requires a specific assessment of tidal wetland values. Some coastal shoals, bars and flats and some littoral zones are areas of extremely high biological productivity and are nearly or equally as important in this respect as intertidal marshes and coastal fresh marshes. Other areas are of little biological significance. Even in these relatively unproductive areas, however, values other than marine food production are often present, and these areas often have the potential to become more biologically productive in the future. Because of their location at the land-water interface, coastal shoals, bars and flats and littoral zones play an important role in flood and hurricane and storm control, although they are less important in this regard than coastal fresh marshes, intertidal marshes and high marshes or salt meadows. Similarly, because of their location at the land-water interface and because of their generally high levels of productivity, these areas have an important function in cleansing ecosystems and absorbing silt and organic materials, but they are also less critical in these ways than coastal fresh marshes, intertidal marshes and high marshes or salt meadows. Where tidal wetlands values, particularly biologic productivity, are high, only limited types of land use and development are compatible with the values of these areas. Where tidal wetland values are relatively lower, more extensive and intensive uses may be compatible with the wetland values of these areas.
(f) Some areas possess the physical characteristics of littoral zones or coastal shoals, bars or flats but do not function biologically as tidal wetlands. Such areas have generally been heavily impacted by pollution, sedimentation or other artificial disturbance, exhibit little primary productivity, and are populated by few benthic organisms. Such areas require identification on a case-by-case basis and when so identified should no longer be treated as tidal wetlands under this Part.
(g) High marsh or salt meadow tidal wetlands constitute an extensive zone of the salt marshes that receives only occasional tidal flooding coincident with extreme lunar tides and occasional storms. Since their photosynthetic productivity is lower than coastal fresh marshes and intertidal marshes and since flushing of the biological products of the high marsh or salt meadow to the estuary is less efficient than in coastal fresh marshes and intertidal marshes, salt meadows or high marshes, while critically important for marine food production, are slightly less important in this regard than coastal fresh marshes or intertidal marshes. Because of their size and location salt meadows or high marshes are as important for absorption of silt and organic material and flood and hurricane and storm control as coastal fresh marshes and intertidal marshes. Furthermore, because they are located generally in such a way that they are the first tidal wetland area to receive run-off and other materials from the land, they have an important role in cleansing ecosystems, but their value in this respect is generally slightly less than in coastal fresh marshes and intertidal marshes because of the lower level of direct tidal influence in high marshes or salt meadows. Because these wetlands are usually located adjacent to intertidal marshes and because their values are similar, these wetland areas must be stringently protected and preserved. Even small portions of these areas are critically important resources, although slightly less so than intertidal marshes and coastal fresh marshes. Consequently, only very limited types of land use and development are compatible with the value of these areas.
(h) All of the above-described tidal wetland zones may occur behind shifting natural barriers that are breached by intermittent tidal inlets which allow tidal action to affect such wetlands.
(i) Formerly connected tidal wetlands are lowland areas whose connections to tidal waters are restricted by road fills, dikes, or other man-made facilities. The nature and value of these tidal wetland areas are widely variable and are a function of the extent of the tidal restriction and the time which has passed since the restriction occurred. Therefore, a case-by-case analysis of these wetlands is required. Each of these tidal wetland areas closely resembles another type of wetland zone. Those uses compatible with the type of wetland zone which a particular formerly connected tidal wetland most closely resembles will be generally compatible with that formerly connected wetland.
(j) Adjacent areas make insignificant contributions to marine food production. Tidal wetland values for cleansing ecosystems, flood and hurricane and storm control, and absorbing silt and organic material may be served to varying degrees by these areas, but these values are not as critically served in adjacent areas as in the tidal wetland zones. The most important function of adjacent areas is to serve as buffers to protect the character, quality and values of tidal wetlands that adjoin or lie near these areas. Consequently, a wide variety of uses may be compatible with these areas, provided such uses do not adversely affect adjacent and nearby tidal wetlands.
(k) All of the tidal wetland zones and adjacent areas generally serve to an approximately equal degree the wildlife habitat, recreation, education and research, and open space and aesthetic appreciation values of tidal wetlands. Variations do occur in the values served from, for example, a particular intertidal marsh to another or from a particular high marsh or salt meadow to another. Furthermore, one type of tidal wetland or an adjacent area may serve a particular wildlife habitat, recreation, education and research, or open space and aesthetic appreciation value. These variations depend on a wide variety of factors, including the particular value sought to be served, the quality and diversity of the natural resources of a particular area, the size and location of the area, the natural features and land uses surrounding the particular area, and the time of year. Generally, tidal wetlands and adjacent areas are the habitat for a large number of wildlife species, provide large expanses for a variety of recreational purposes, offer conditions useful for many education and research purposes and satisfy a broad spectrum of aesthetic appreciation and open space needs.
(l) The productivity and variability of tidal wetlands and their location in a constantly changing environment mean that whatever the present existing values of a particular tidal wetland are, the ability of that wetland to serve these values generally continues provided it is allowed to function in a substantially natural and undisturbed state. Furthermore certain human-induced modifications of tidal wetlands can increase tidal wetland values when carefully designed and undertaken. Consequently, land use and development in or near tidal wetlands must be compatible with the present and potential values of tidal wetlands.
(m) Tidal wetlands are located at the critical interface between land and tidal waters, and the amount of this land-water boundary is limited. Certain types of land use and development require access to tidal waters, while others do not. Given the critical values served by tidal wetlands, the limited extent of the land-water boundary, and the many types of land use and development that require water access and should be located where they will not substantially impair tidal wetland values, land use and development that does not require water access generally should not be located in tidal wetlands or adjacent areas.
(n) While tidal wetlands and adjacent areas contain distinct zones, as set forth in these findings, these areas are essentially an integrated natural system. The resources in one area utilize and depend on the resources in other areas. The tidal wetland benefits produced in one area benefit nearby areas, and the negative impacts imposed on the natural values of one area are transferred to other nearby tidal wetland areas. Consequently, land use and development occurring in any particular tidal wetland or adjacent area may cause impacts on nearby areas and should be compatible with the values of the particular area on which it is located as well as with the values of nearby tidal wetlands.
6 CRR-NY 661.2
Current through July 31, 2020
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