How to Apply for a Freshwater Wetlands Permit in Region 5 - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

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How to Apply for a Freshwater Wetlands Permit in Region 5

Printable version of this page (PDF) (27 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.

A Freshwater Wetlands Permit is required for draining, dredging, excavating, filling, polluting, erecting structures, or any other activity which substantially impairs any of the functions or benefits of wetlands, when such activity occurs in the wetlands itself or within any area 100 feet adjacent to the wetland.

NOTE: The Adirondack Park Agency (518-891-4050) administers the freshwater wetland law within the Adirondack Park and should be contacted for projects involving wetlands in the Adirondack Park.

Project Planning - What To Consider First

Wetland Delineation

The regulated wetland boundary must be delineated (i.e., flagged) on site. The established boundary and its 100 foot adjacent area must be depicted on the project plans. Please contact the DEC Wildlife office in Ray Brook at (518) 897-1291 or Warrensburg at (518) 623-1240 or (518) 623-1241 to request or confirm a wetland boundary delineation.

Wetland Delineation or Determination Request Form (PDF) (17 KB)


Before preparing your application, determine whether there are alternatives that would avoid the wetland and its 100 foot adjacent area. An alternate location, design or layout may be possible that achieves your objective and avoids the wetland and adjacent area. A DEC Freshwater Wetland permit is not required if all disturbance is more than 100 feet from the wetland boundary. If alternatives are not possible, please explain.

Project Design

Submit the project design that will achieve your purpose and cause the least amount of impact to the regulated wetland and adjacent area. Explain how your proposal avoids or minimizes wetland impacts to the greatest extent possible.

Basis for Permit Issuance

The decision whether or not to grant a permit is based upon the standards contained in the Freshwater Wetlands Permit Requirements Regulations 6 NYCRR Part 663. (link leaves DEC's website)

Completing Your Application

All forms, supplemental materials and details listed in Items 1 through 8, including the application fee, are required. Check with Region 5 Environmental Permits staff to learn if any forms or applications listed in Item 9 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

Joint Application Form (PDF) (543 KB) and Joint Application 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 the application, or provide a signed letter authorizing the agent to act on his/her behalf.
  • On Item #7, Project Narrative, adequately discuss the following, using a separate sheet of paper, if necessary:
    • Purpose of the project
    • Alternatives considered to avoid wetland and adjacent areas
    • If no feasible alternatives exist, explain how your project minimizes wetland impacts
    • How the work will be done. Include methods, materials, work sequence
    • Erosion and silt control methods/materials that will be used to prevent water quality impacts

2. Location Map

  • Provide three (3) 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 three (3) copies
  • Show the overall site, including:
    • Property lines, wetland boundary, 100' buffer area, proposed project, existing structures
    • 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 three (3) copies
  • Include two drawings
    • Plan view (bird's eye)
    • Cross section view
  • Drawings should be on 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets, showing before and after conditions.
  • Drawings should include:
    • Existing conditions, as well as the proposed project (final conditions)
    • Extent and dimensions (length, height, width, depth) of proposed structures such as: buildings, septic systems, driveways/roads, etc.
    • Extent and dimensions (length, width, depth) of all work areas such as: fill, excavation, grading, disturbance and clearing of vegetation, etc., and include volumes (cubic yards) of excavation/fill areas
    • Wetland Boundary and 100' buffer area and include date the boundary was flagged, and by whom
    • Limit of disturbance (clearing, grading, cut, fill, lawn, etc) clearly marked on plans, with erosion and sediment controls (continuous silt fence or straw bales) along the entire limit of disturbance
    • North arrow; Scale 1" = 50' or larger (if drawn to scale)
    • Applicant's Name
    • Date
    • Plans Prepared By
  • Samples of Project Plans for various projects

5. Color Photographs

Provide three (3) copies of recent, color photos (2 to 3 views), labeled with the 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. Application Fee

The NYS Legislature passed legislation amending Section 70-0117 of the Environmental Conservation Law (Uniform Procedures). Effective April 1, 2009, fees are required for Freshwater Wetland permit applications, as follows:

  • Minor projects $50
  • Modification to existing permit $50
  • Single family dwelling and customary appurtenances $50
  • Multiple family dwellings and customary appurtenances $100
  • All Other projects $200

Only checks or money orders will be accepted, made payable to the New York Sate Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The cancelled check will be your receipt. Once an application is filed, there are no provisions for partial or full refund, regardless of project changes or permit decision.

8. Permission to Inspect Property

The Permission to Inspect Property Form (PDF) (13 kb) is found on the third page of the Joint Application Form.

9. 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

Compensatory Mitigation

If deemed necessary, the department may request that you provide compensatory mitigation (i.e., replacement of lost wetland).

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 completeness determination date
    • Major Projects - on or before 90 calendar days after completeness determination date

Other Potential Permits

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

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.

Application Submittal 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, and Franklin 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