Grass Headlands

Environmental buffer zones were introduced in 1999 to protect watercourses and wetlands in PEI.  Under the Watercourse and Wetland Protection Regulations, a grass headland is required where row crops are grown within 200 metres (656 feet) of a watercourse or wetland.  

When do I need to establish a grass headland?

Within 200 metres of a watercourse or wetland, all row crops must end at a grass headland or at a buffer zone. For grass headland purposes, corn and soybeans are not considered row crops.  

Are there exceptions to this requirement?

A Grass Headland Variance or Exemption can be issued by the Department in cases where run-off from a row-cropped field would not travel through the area where a grass headland would normally be required.  

How do I apply for a Grass Headland Variance or Exemption?

There is no application form to request a variance or exemption.  You must contact the Department staff listed below.  A request for a variance or exemption (including renewals of existing paperwork) can be completed with a single visit to the farm.  

You will need to provide the property number for the field(s) for which a variance or exemption is being requested.  The steps required to obtain a Grass Headland Variance or Exemption are as follows:

  • The producer identifies an area(s) within the 200 metre zone where a grass headland may not be required (where no run-off from the field will pass through the headland area).
  • The producer contacts the Department with a property identification number and requests an inspection.
  • Departmental staff view the property on GIS maps to identify potential issues.
  • Departmental staff visit the property and inspect the area(s) of the field(s) where a variance or exemption is requested.
  • If there are no concerns about approving a variance or exemption (little or no chance of run-off through the headland area in question), staff can issue one at the time of their visit.

Is there a cost to obtain a Grass Headland Variance or Exemption?

No, there is no fee.

Who can I contact for more information?

Areas west of Hunter River:

Kevin Arsenault (Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Supervisor)
Communities, Land and Environment

Western Forest District Office
Telephone: (902) 854-7260
Fax: (902) 854-7448
Email: sends e-mail)

Hunter River and east:

Jason Affleck (Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Technician)
4th Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street
Charlottetown, PEI
Telephone:  (902) 569-0589
Fax: (902) 368-5830
Email: sends e-mail)

Published date: 
July 11, 2016
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General Inquiries

Department of Communities, Land and Environment
4th Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-5044
Toll-free: 1-866-368-5044
Fax: 902-368-5830