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Freshwater Wetlands Permit Program: Is this Project Major or Minor?

Time Frames, Procedures and Requirements Differ

The time allotted for agency review (time frames), the procedures, and public notice requirements for applications differ according to whether the project is considered major or minor according to the regulations implementing the Uniform Procedures Act.

Generally, minor projects have shorter review time frames and require less public review.

Notice of all major projects must be published in both the Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB) and a designated local newspaper to allow for public review.

Minor Projects in Wetlands Include:

  1. In-kind and in-place reconstruction of existing functional bulkheads and similar structures.
  2. Restoration, reconstruction, or modification of existing functional structures or facilities which involve the temporary disturbance of less than 50 square meters (approximately 540 square feet) of ground surface, excluding drainage ditches.
  3. Installation of a dock, pier, or wharf built on floats or open-work supports and having a top surface area of 20 square meters (approximately 200 square feet) or less.
  4. Installation of utility service to an individual residence or installation of utilities to a structure from an existing distribution facility, not involving major modifications or construction activities (eg. clearing and grading) in the wetland.
  5. Selective cutting but not elimination or destruction of vegetation which does not significantly affect the function and benefits of the wetland.
  6. Dredging of less than 400 cubic meters (approximately 523 cubic yards) to maintain presently existing navigational channels.
  7. Routine beach regrading and cleaning.
  8. Drilling of a water well for a single-family dwelling.
  9. Application of a pesticide to the grounds of a private residence by the owner of that residence.
  10. Drilling test wells for sampling and scientific studies but not for mineral exploration.

Minor Projects in Adjacent Areas Include:

Examples of activities which require a permit include:

  1. In-kind and in-place reconstruction of existing functional bulkheads or similar structures.
  2. Restoration, reconstruction, or modification of existing functional structures or facilities which involve the temporary disturbance of less than 50 square meters (approximately 540 square feet) of ground surface.
  3. Installation of a dock, pier, or wharf built on floats or open-work supports and having a top surface area of 20 square meters (approximately 200 square feet) or less.
  4. Building a deck adjoining an existing dwelling.
  5. Expansion or substantial modification of existing functional structures, excluding drainage ditches.
  6. Installation of utilities to a structure from an existing distribution facility, not involving major modifications or construction activities (eg. clearing and grading) in the wetland. (Installation of utility service to an individual residence is an exempt activity in an adjacent area.)
  7. Removal or breaching of newly constructed beaver dams to restore water levels.
  8. Selective cutting but not elimination or destruction of vegetation which does not significantly affect the benefits of the wetlands
  9. Clear cutting of trees.
  10. Dredging of less than 400 cubic meters (approximately 523 cubic yards) to maintain presently existing navigational channels.
  11. Routine beach regrading and cleaning.
  12. Drilling of a water well for a single-family dwelling.
  13. Constructing a driveway to an existing resience.
  14. Application of a pesticide to the grounds of a private residence by the owner of that residence.
  15. Application of a pesticide pursuant to a pesticide permit issued by the DEC.
  16. Intensive, organized, and repetitive use of all-terrain vehicles, air and motor boats, and snowmobiles.
  17. Installation of fencing.

Major Projects

All regulated activities in wetlands not listed in one of the two categories above are major projects.

Examples include:

  1. New construction of a residence, commercial facility, industrial facility or any related structure in a wetland or within 100 feet of the wetlands
  2. Expansion of or substantial modification of existing structures or facilities in a wetland including residential, commercial, and industrial buildings or sanitary disposal systems within 100 feet of the wetlands
  3. Draining, except as part of an agricultural activity
  4. Clear cutting of trees or other vegetation in a wetlands
  5. Filling, even for agricultural purposes
  6. Dredging except as listed above in the minor project categories.
  7. Mining.
  8. Road construction
  9. Construction of new or replacement of non-functional dams, docks, or bulkheads.
  10. Application or storage of pesticides, except applications in an adjacent area as described above in minor projects

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