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Responsibilities
The Wetlands Board currently consists of five members who are appointed by the Board of Supervisors. A wetlands permit must be acquired from the Wetlands Board in order to use or develop tidal wetlands or beaches.  Typical examples of activities and projects requiring a permit include the repair or installation of bulkheads, riprap revetments, and community or commercial piers. Non-commercial piers and boathouses may require a permit from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, a building permit from the Department of Public Works is required for bulkheads, piers, and boathouses.

The first step in obtaining a wetlands permit is to submit a joint wetlands permit application (JPA) to the VMRC. VMRC acts as a clearing house and sends the permit application to other interested jurisdictions, including the Wetlands Board. Environmental planners within the Department of Planning and Zoning serve as staff to the Wetlands Board. Once the application is considered complete by staff, the project will be scheduled for a hearing before the Wetlands Board. The fee for scheduling a hearing is $675. In addition, to assist in the goal of no net loss of tidal wetlands in Virginia, an in-lieu fee is assessed per square foot of wetlands impact. To promote the use of shoreline protection methods considered less disruptive to the environment, the fee is currently set at $8.75 for riprap revetments and $17.50 for bulkheads.

Projects Needing a Permit
For the majority of activities within the tidal wetlands of Stafford County, the Tidewater JPA can be utilized. The Tidewater JPA can be used for the following actives: piers, boathouses, boat ramps, moorings, marinas, aquaculture facilities, riprap revetments, bulkheads, marsh toe stabilizations, breakwaters, beach nourishment, groins, jetties, road crossings over tidal waterways, and utility lines over or under tidal waterways. Dredging and excavation projects in tidal waterways/wetlands must use the full-length JPA.