Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Waterways and Wetlands Teams
100 Cambridge St., Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

310 CMR 9.00: The Massachusetts Waterways Regulation
310 CMR 10.00: Wetlands Protection Act Regulations
314 CMR 9: 401 Water Quality Certification

Delivered electronically

Dear Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Waterways and Wetlands teams,

On behalf of all 351 cities and towns across the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association wishes to express our appreciation to the Department and provide input on the proposed changes to Waterways and Wetlands regulations, specifically, 310 CMR 9.00: The Massachusetts Waterways Regulation, 310 CMR 10.00: Wetlands Protection Act Regulations, and 314 CMR 9: 401 Water Quality Certification. As a member of the Stormwater Advisory Committee, we recognize the considerable effort by MassDEP to update these regulations.

We also appreciate the extensive efforts of the Legislature and the Administration to help the Commonwealth navigate and adapt to the implications of climate change. Included in these efforts is the ResilientMass Plan that works in coordination with the proposed Wetlands and Waterways regulations to help ensure that from the Cape to the Berkshires, our communities are resilient and ready for the impacts of climate change.

We strongly believe that basing these regulations on updated science is incredibly timely. The use of this up-to-date science (through NOAA Atlas 14 precipitation data and NOAA 14 PLUS projections) will further guide stakeholder efforts across the state as we face more frequent and severe storms as a result of the changing climate. We appreciate the efforts made to streamline and reconcile state policy with national requirements for MS4 standards, including extensive revision and reformatting of the Stormwater Handbook. Further, we are grateful that MassDEP has clarified confusion regarding stormwater implications of solar panels. As we move through the energy transition and solar siting ramps up, this clarification is incredibly helpful.

As you know, municipalities are key partners in state initiatives and critical environmental stewards. Local officials are actively working to ensure their cities and towns are resilient, negative environmental impacts are minimized, and the well-being of the community is supported. However, with Proposition 2½ restricting municipal revenue generation, and additional fiscal challenges, the ability for municipalities to comply with stringent environmental regulations is very worrisome.

We are highly concerned that several of the proposals included in the draft regulations will create significant challenges for municipal compliance while local officials also wrestle with urgent priorities in areas of housing, economic development, and public safety. In many instances, the proposed regulations appear in direct conflict with other statewide goals.

For example, we are sensitive to the conflict created with traffic safety efforts to improve roadways while also reducing fatalities and injuries. Initiatives like Complete Streets, which may require roadway widening to safely expand accessibility for vulnerable road users, could be in direct conflict with the goal of reducing impervious roadway surfaces and development restrictions outlined in the proposed regulations. When faced with such contradictions and the increased costs associated with meeting all standards, municipalities will be left with no choice but to avoid infrastructure improvements and stifle our progress towards accessibility and resilience. We urge the Department to re-evaluate how these proposed regulations affect other state initiatives and programs.

Regarding various housing development efforts across the state, the proposed regulations stand to increase construction costs in both coastal and inland regions. Development costs will rise in communities that will now be subject to more stringent stormwater standards. We anticipate similar implications for economic development projects and a variety of municipal infrastructure projects, and no source of funding has been identified to help offset these cost increases for cities and towns. It is essential that these downstream implications are considered.

We strongly encourage your teams to revise the proposed regulations to clearly differentiate between public entities and private, for-profit entities. We also encourage you to expand flexibility to meet goals to the maximum extent possible. Municipalities require this in order to meaningfully achieve our common goals to protect the environment while fortifying our communities in the face of climate change.

Further, in order to support a successful implementation of these regulations, we strongly recommend extending the timeline. Our members and advocacy partners are still absorbing the details of the proposed regulations, thus additional time is needed to review and revise. We recommend adding an additional comment period to the revision process by providing a second draft of the proposed recommendations for review by the public. In addition, municipal officials will need considerable technical support to implement these regulations in the future. In order to accommodate this, we urge you to extend the start date for these regulations to at least one year after the final promulgation date.

Finally, we encourage you to develop a robust communication and technical assistance program to support our municipalities in implementing these regulations. We recognize that these regulations may continue to change as we continue to respond to the impact of climate change. However, it is essential that municipalities are supported to understand what is required and are engaged regularly in the case where standards change in the future. We offer our partnership in this effort to engage with our local officials in the Commonwealth.

My team and I are available to answer any questions you may have and further discuss the details and implications of the proposed regulations. Please do not hesitate to contact me or MMA Legislative Analysts Josie Ahlberg and Adrienne Núñez at and, at any time.

Many thanks to each of you for your work on these important regulations and for your partnership with municipalities in helping to ensure our natural and built environments are healthy and resilient as we face the uncertainties of climate change.


Adam Chapdelaine
MMA Executive Director & CEO