The upland area surrounding a wetland – the wetland buffer – is essential to its health and survival. Healthy wetlands and buffer areas help to control flooding, protect water flows, conserve native plants and wildlife, and support nature-friendly land use and development. Local governments are often better situated than state and federal environmental authorities to control activities on the lands that surround wetland resource areas, because they are not just concerned with wetland functions, but also with surrounding land uses and the benefits wetlands provide for their communities.
Based on ELI’s detailed examination of more than 50 enacted wetland buffer ordinances around the nation and nine model ordinances, as well as several hundred scientific studies and analyses of buffer performance, the Planner’s Guide to Wetland Buffers for Local Governments identifies both the state-of-the-art and the range of current practice in protection of wetland buffers by local governments. The Guide provides to local governments considering enacting or amending a wetland buffer ordinance what they need to know to manage land use and development in these important areas. The publication is available on ELI’s website at www.eli.org