What are the restrictions in the buffer?
Generally, construction and land disturbance, such as clearing trees, cutting brush, or grading, are prohibited in the buffer. New structures, roads, septic systems, sheds, and utilities must be located outside the buffer unless an applicant works with the local approving authority to obtain a variance. Some structures that are determined to be water dependent, such as a boat ramp, or that provide access to the water or are associated with erosion control measures can be permitted in the buffer subject to certain regulatory requirements and permits.

The cutting or removal of natural vegetation in the buffer is not allowed unless a property owner obtains approval of a buffer management plan from the local government.

Replanting is typically required for the removal of vegetation with certain exceptions for dead trees and invasive species. If the buffer is already forested, it should be maintained in natural vegetation. Supplemental planting is permitted within the buffer. Native plant species should be used to enhance wildlife habitat.

Show All Answers

1. What is the critical area buffer?
2. What are the restrictions in the buffer?
3. If I am building a house or an addition outside the buffer, is buffer planting still required?
4. When is a buffer management plan required?
5. Can I prepare my own buffer management plan?
6. Will my Buffer Management Plan require that I replant areas where I remove vegetation?
7. Do i need a buffer management plan to plant trees, shrubs, or a garden in the buffer?
8. What is the difference between buffer establishment and buffer mitigation?
9. I have a lot of poison ivy, vines, and brush in my buffer. Can I “bush hog” it?
10. What size plants do I need to satisfy a buffer planting requirement?
11. Can i cut small trees in the buffer without a buffer management plan approved by the local government?
12. Can I remove invasive or noxious plants such as English Ivy, Japanese Honeysuckle, or Phragmites in the buffer?
13. Can I remove a tree or natural vegetation that blocks my view?
14. Can I apply herbicides in the buffer?
15. Can I mow my lawn in the buffer?
16. What can I do about trees that are damaged by storms?
17. Can I trim shrubs and prune trees within the buffer?
18. Is mitigation required for trimming and pruning trees within the buffer?
19. Do I have to plant in the buffer when I am doing a shore erosion control project?
20. Why is planting required for shore erosion control projects when the project is being installed to help the bay by reducing sedimentation?
21. Is mitigation required for access to the shoreline and for stockpile areas created when you do a shore erosion control project?