Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

How to Apply for a Protection of Waters Permit in Region 5

Printable version of this page (PDF) (28 KB)

Important Change in Process: Your completed application must now be submitted directly to each involved Agency. DEC will no longer forward applications to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or vice versa. This change in procedure will insure that each involved agency receives applications in a timely manner and that reviews can begin without delays due to the interchange of application materials among agencies.

Project Planning - What to Consider First

Work Prohibition Period for Trout

Many water bodies are breeding habitat to fall-spawning trout. Please be aware that Protection of Waters permits typically contain a condition prohibiting in-water work during the vulnerable spawning, incubation, and early development period for these fish (October 1 - April 30).

Shoreline Stabilization

When shoreline stabilization is necessary, methods that maintain or re-establish natural slope and habitat should be considered first (e.g., planting native, deep-rooting vegetation and bio-engineering that incorporates live stakes, fascines, vegetated rip-rap or terraced stone, etc.). Vertical walls are approved only in extreme situations where environmental alternatives would not be structurally effective.

Basis for Permit Issuance

The proposed project must:

  1. be reasonable and necessary,
  2. not endanger the health, safety, welfare of the people of the state, and
  3. not cause unreasonable, uncontrolled or unnecessary damage to the natural resources of the state, including soil, forests, water, aquatic and land-related environment.

Mean High Water Level

Mean High Water Level (mhwl) is the average springtime high water level. Specific mhwl elevations have been established, and should be used, for the following lakes:

  • Lake Champlain = 99.8' above mean sea level (amsl)
  • Lake Placid = 1,858.94' amsl
  • Lake George = 320.20' amsl
  • Great Sacandaga Lake = 771.0' amsl
  • Indian Lake (Hamilton County) = 1,651.74' amsl
  • Sixth Lake (Town of Inlet) = 1786.10' amsl

For other waterbodies, the mhwl can be determined by observing along the shoreline:

  • vegetative characteristics such as the presence, absence or destruction of terrestrial or aquatic vegetation, and
  • physical characteristics such as a clear natural line impressed on a bank, scouring, shelving, or the presence of sediments or debris.

Completing Your Application

All forms, supplemental materials and details listed in Items 1 through 7 are required. Check with Region 5 environmental permits staff to learn if any forms or applications listed in Item 8 are required. Contact information may be found at the bottom of the page. NOTE: All forms must be completed and mailed to the appropriate office.

1. Joint Application for Permit

Application form (PDF) (543 KB) and Instructions (PDF) (301 KB).

Complete the application form and note the following:

  • On Item #6, Landowner Authorization, the landowner should be the applicant. If an agent prepares the application, the landowner must also sign it, or provide a signed letter authorizing the agent to act on his/her behalf.
  • On Item #9, Project Narrative, adequately discuss the following items using separate sheet of paper, if necessary:
    • Purpose of the project
    • How the work will be done, including methods, materials, work sequence
    • Description of the lake or stream bottom material (e.g., sand, gravel, muck, rock, etc)
    • Erosion and silt control methods/materials that will be used to prevent water quality impacts

2. Location Map

  • Provide four (4) copies
  • Show the exact location of the project site by placing an X or an arrow on a USGS topographic map, DOT planimetric map, or equivalent.

3. General Site Plan

  • Provide four (4) copies
  • Show the overall site, including:
    • Property lines, proposed project, existing structures - including structures to be removed
    • Permanent landmarks (existing roads, driveways, structures, shoreline, streams, significant trees, etc.)
    • North arrow and scale (or if not drawn to scale indicate all relevant distances and dimensions)
  • Samples of General Site Plans for various projects

4. Project Plans

  • Provide four (4) copies
  • Include two drawings
    • Plan view ('bird's eye' view)
    • Cross section view
  • Drawings should be on 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets, and show before and after conditions.
  • Drawings should include:
    • Existing shoreline conditions such as top of bank, bank slope, lake/stream bottom, erosion areas, etc.
    • Location of Mean High Water Level (mhwl) - see definition above.
    • Location and dimensions (length, height, width, depth) of all proposed structures, including all work areas (excavation, fill, backfill areas, etc.)
    • Location and dimensions of all materials/structures to be removed, include all work areas.
    • Distance from proposed project to mhwl and to nearby existing permanent features (house, property line, driveway, significant tree, etc)
    • Location of erosion/sediment controls (e.g., silt fence, straw bales) to be used along the limits of disturbance (NOTE: For projects on lake/stream shores, a turbidity curtain should surround the work area)
    • North Arrow; Scale 1" = 50' or larger (if drawn to scale)
    • Applicant's Name
    • Date
    • Prepared By
  • Samples of Project Plans for various projects

5. Color Photographs

Provide four (4) copies of recent, color photos (2 to 3 views), labeled with view and the date taken.

6. Short Environmental Assessment Form (EAF)

NOTE: DEC has created new versions of the Short and Full Environmental Assessment Forms. The new forms and instructions are available on the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) Forms web page.

Complete Part I only and note the following:

  • On Item # 6, be sure to summarize the entire project, not just that portion affecting this permit application.
  • On Item # 10, be sure to list all other agencies requiring approvals, and indicate the current status of those reviews.

7. Permission to Inspect Property

The Permission to Inspect Property Form (PDF) (549 KB) is found on the third page of the Joint Application for Permit Form.

8. Additional Forms

Check with Region 5 Environmental Permits staff to see if any forms or applications listed below are required. Contact information may be found at the bottom of the page.

Other Important Information

Time Frames For DEC Decisions

Pursuant to Article 70 of the Environmental Conservation Law

  • Determination of Completeness of Application - on or before 15 calendar days after receipt of application.
  • Final Decision (if no hearing):
    • Minor Projects - on or before 45 calendar days after the completeness determination date
    • Major Projects - on or before 90 calendar days after the completeness determination date

Other Potential Permits

Permits may also be required from other government agencies, such as but not limited to:

Adirondack Park Agency (518-891-4050) - If your proposal involves shoreline work in the Adirondack Park, please contact the Adirondack Park Agency before finalizing plans. This will help to eliminate unnecessary delays and assure that your project design satisfies both agencies.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (518-266-6350) - The Corps of Engineers regulates activities involving dredging, excavation, placement of fill, or construction of certain structures in waterways and wetlands of the United States. A copy of the Joint Application will be forwarded to the Corps of Engineers.

Lake George Park Commission (518-668-9347) - regulates docks and moorings on Lake George.

Application Submittals and Further Information

The completed application package must be mailed (or hand delivered) to the appropriate DEC Region 5 office based on the county where the project is located. Any questions may be directed to that office as well.

In Clinton, Essex, Franklin, and Hamilton Counties:

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Environmental Permits
1115 NYS Route 86
PO Box 296
Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296

In Fulton, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington Counties:

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Environmental Permits
232 Golf Course Road
Warrensburg, NY 12885-0220