Wetlands info session held at Gloucester Library

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Nov 20, 2013 - 01:17 PM

Approximately 30 people attended an information session regarding wetlands Nov. 7 at the Gloucester Library in Main Street Center.

The session was targeted to shoreline property owners, said Scott Rae, Gloucester’s environmental program administrator, and the audience included property owners, real estate professionals, and wetlands consultants and engineers.

Chip Neikirk of the Habitat Management Division of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission explained that agency is "the trustee over state bottoms." He said that the Virginia State Code provides some exemptions for private piers, but that the agency is in charge of policing piers to make sure they are harmonious with water bodies and do not block channels.

Not only is the length and width of a pier considered, Neikirk said, but a maximum of 400 square feet is allowed for decking on a pier without exemption.

When asked from the audience, Neikirk explained that regulations require a permit if you plan to place one or more pilings. Without such regulations, he said, moorings could be a hindrance to navigation.

In response to a question about osprey nests, Neikirk said that osprey nesting poles require a permit.

Alicia Riley from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spoke about the pre-application process for structures involving wetlands. Riley said that all piers more than 300 feet long must be illuminated.