WPA Minor Exemptions

State WPA Minor Exempt Activities - Riverfront and Buffer Zone Only:

Minor activities within the buffer zone and outside any areas specified in MGL 131 S 40:

  • Unpaved pedestrian walkways for private use
  • Fencing, provided it will not constitute barrier to wildlife movement; stonewalls; stacks of cord wood
  • Vista pruning provided the activity is located more than 50 feet from the mean annual high water line within a riverfront area or from bordering vegetative wetland, whichever is further. (Pruning of landscaped areas is not subject to jurisdiction under State WPA - vista pruning means selective thinning of tree branches or understory to establish a specific “window”)
  • Planting of native species trees, shrubs or groundcover, but excluding turf lawn
  • The conversion of lawn to uses accessory to residential structures such as decks, sheds, patios and pools, provided the activity is located more than 50 feet from the mean-annual high water line within the riverfront area or from the bordering vegetative wetland, which-ever is further. The conversion of such uses accessory to existing single family houses to lawn is allowed. Mowing lawns is not subject to jurisdiction.  
  • Conversion of impervious to vegetative surfaces, provided erosion and sediment control are implemented during construction
  • Activities that are of a temporary nature, having negligible impacts and are necessary for planning and design purposes, ie: installation of monitoring wells, exploratory borings, sediment samplings, etc.


  • Crossing a wetlands or stream to do a perk test
  • Paved pedestrian walkway for public or private use
  • Putting in a shed in a floodplain
  • Vista pruning that does not comply with the definition of vista pruning, ie: clear cutting an area of forest within a buffer
  • Putting in a deck, shed, patio or pool up to greater than 50 feet in not a conversion from lawn.  
  • Agriculture: The jurisdiction of this Bylaw shall not extend to uses and structures of agriculture that enjoy the rights and privileges of laws and regulations of the Commonwealth governing agriculture, including work performed for normal maintenance or improvement of land in agricultural of aquacultural uses as defined by the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations found at 310 CMR 10.04.
  • Recreational