What are the common wetland resource areas found in Upton?

Riverfront Area

This includes all land within 200 feet of the bank of any perennial stream. There are specific performance standards for work within the Riverfront Area. The Riverfront Area does not have a Buffer Zone around it.

Lakes & Ponds

Upton has numerous smaller ponds, as well as three large bodies of water:

Banks & Beaches

A bank or beach is the place where water meets land for any waterbody whether a pond, lake, stream or river. (Note: a bank is sometimes different from the edge of the water, especially if the water rises and falls frequently due to seasonal or other variations). Bank provides critical habitat for such native animals as mink and river otter.

The 100-year Floodplain

The 100-year Floodplain is the area affected when water rises after a storm of a magnitude that occurs, on average, only once every hundred years. The 100-year Floodplain does not flood only once every one hundred years.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency publishes official maps that show where these floodplains are. The Floodplain does not have a Buffer Zone around it.

Isolated Land Subject to Flooding

Isolated Land Subject to Flooding is any land that holds about 11,000 cubic feet of water at least once a year, or an average of six inches of water over 22,000 square feet (a little more than half an acre). Isolated Land Subject to Flooding does not have a Buffer Zone around it.

Bordering Vegetated Wetlands

Bordering Vegetated Wetlands (BVW) include any marsh, swamp, wet meadow, or bog that border on a stream or pond. Each kind of wetland has different characteristics, and according to the Wetlands Protection Act are defined by the plant communities they support.


Swamps are thickly wooded wetlands. Most swamps in Upton are Wooded Deciduous Swamps that have mostly Red (Swamp) Maples and other water-loving trees. There are also shrub swamps throughout the town.


Marshes, both deep and shallow, support cat tails and reeds.

Wet Meadows

Wet Meadows are comprised primarily of grasses, rushes and sedges.

Vernal Pools

Vernal pools are temporary bodies of fresh water that provide critical habitat for many vertebrate and invertebrate wildlife species. Vernal pools do not support fish (usually because they dry out annually or periodically). Some may contain water year-round but are free of fish.

Vernal pools provide unique habitat for a variety of forest and wetland organisms, some of which depend on this pool habitat for their survival. "Obligate" vernal pool species, such as the wood frog (Rana sylvatica), mole salamanders (Ambystoma sp.) and fairy shrimp (Order Anostraca) will only breed in vernal pools and therefore are dependent on this critical habitat. "Facultative" species, such as certain amphibians and reptiles along with several kinds of aquatic invertebrates, often exploit the fish-free waters of vernal pools but do not depend on them.

Show All Answers

1. Help! I have beavers! What do I do?
2. What is the Wetlands Protection Act?
3. What should I do if I see someone breaking environmental laws?
4. What can I do to help maintain the health of wetland areas?
5. I have an underground oil tank. How do I prevent leaks and/or deal with spills?
6. What is a Stormwater Management Policy?
7. What is a Flood Zone? Am I in one?
8. What is a Floodplain? Am I in one?
9. What about emergency tree removal?
10. Do I need a permit to cut trees and brush?
11. How do I get a wetland delineation?
12. I’m thinking about buying property. How will I know if there will be wetland issues?
13. How do I know if I have wetlands or other resources?
14. What is a vernal pool?
15. Do I need a permit?
16. What is a Buffer Zone?
17. Why do we protect wetlands?
18. What are the common wetland resource areas found in Upton?
19. What exactly is a wetland?