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Freshwater Wetlands Permit Program: Application Procedures

Pre-Application Planning

Before submitting your application, and preferably very early in the planning stages of your project, visit your town or county clerk's office or DEC regional office and ask to review the wetland maps.

Locate your property and check whether or not a protected wetland is either on or adjacent to it. Not all wetlands are protected by DEC. Be aware however, that most wetlands will come under the jurisdiction of the US Army Corps of Engineers whether protected by DEC or not.

If a protected wetland is on or near your property and your project may come within 100 ft. of it, you may contact the DEC Regional Office serving the project location and request a Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources biologist to visit your site and mark the wetland boundary. Or, you may have a private consultant mark the wetland boundary for you.

Freshwater Wetland permit issuance standards require you to avoid or minimize impacts
to the wetlands - you need the above information to plan for meeting these standards.

Be Smart! - Contact DEC Early in Your Planning

Contact the appropriate DEC regional Environmental Permits office before beginning detailed design and engineering work. Keep initial plans flexible until involved regulatory program staff review your proposal and comment on its conformance with permit issuance standards. On occasion, minor changes in layout can avoid disagreements and delays, and in some cases, even eliminate the need for a permit.

Eliminate multiple mailings, multiple reviews, and misunderstandings - seek clarifications from DEC staff during the planning stages of the project. On submitting the application, provide accurate, complete information.

Pre-application Conference

Applicants are often pleased on discovering that meeting with DEC staff and other potentially involved agencies in a pre-application conference facilitates explaining the proposed project to these agencies. We strongly urge applicants unfamiliar with DEC permitting procedures, as well as those with complex, multi residential, commercial or industrial projects to schedule a pre-application conference. This meeting allows you to obtain preliminary answers to questions about wetland and adjacent area boundaries, application procedures, and standards for permit issuance.

Contact the appropriate DEC Regional Environmental Permits office and schedule your pre-application conference now.

Application Requirements - Complete Application

Some requirements may be waived for small projects but in general, a complete application must include:

  1. Application Form: The Joint Application for Permit Form, Instructions for Completing it, and Permission to Inspect Property Form can be found on Application Forms for DEC Permits page. Please read ALL instructions carefully and be sure you have completed ALL necessary parts before submitting your application. Please provide 3 copies.
  2. Location Map: Three copies of a location map showing the precise location of the project by reference to known landmarks such as streets and public buildings. (A photocopy of a USGS topographic map or equivalent will usually be sufficient.) If the project site is a vacant lot, provide the number of the nearest utility pole, distance to the nearest intersection, or location of another identifying landmark.
  3. Project Plans: Three copies of the project plans at a scale of 1"=50' or larger, including topography at a contour interval prescribed by the DEC Regional Permits Office. The plan must show existing conditions and the work to be performed. The wetlands boundary verified by DEC staff must also be shown on the plans. (See Pre-application Assistance, above.) The extent of all fills or excavations and the dimensions of all proposed buildings or structures must be shown on the plans. If a septic system is part of the proposed project, the plan must show the location of the system including the test hole location and data and the elevation of the system above seasonal high ground water.
  4. Photographs: Recent clear photographs of the project site and wetlands area mounted on a separate sheet labeled with the view shown and the date of the photographs.
  5. Satisfaction of SEQR and SHPA requirements: Information necessary for the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act
    (SEQR) and the State Historic Preservation Act (SHPA) which will include:
    • A completed Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) (Part 1), and in certain cases, a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
    • A completed Structural Archaeological Assessment Form (SAAF) (if required), and in certain cases, a cultural resource survey.
  6. Landowner's Permission: If the applicant is not the owner of the land for which the application is submitted, written permission of the landowner for the applicant to file the application and undertake the proposed activity. If the application is for state-owned underwater lands, written notice that the applicant is seeking the appropriate grant, easement or lease of such lands from- the New York State Office of General Services is sufficient.
  7. Other information DEC staff may require additional information to adequately review and evaluate the application, such as engineering or supplemental reports that justify this proposal over alternative non-wetland sites, and alternative layouts or designs which might avoid or minimize impacts to wetlands.

This information will assist DEC in evaluating the project using the regulatory standards for permit issuance in 6NYCRR Part 663. (see Standards for Issuance - link in table at top left of page) If, after this examination of alternatives, impacts to the wetlands remain and cannot be avoided, you may be required to submit a proposal to compensate for losses by replacing lost wetlands or wetland natural values (eg. construct new wetlands, enhance habitat diversity of existing wetlands, or construct facilities replacing wetland functions such as flood control structures or waste treatment facilities).

Even after an application is determined complete and review begins, DEC may require additional information to complete the review and make a decision. The applicant will be notified of what information is necessary, and must submit this before a final decision can be reached on the project application.

Application Fees

Please be advised that the NYS Legislature passed legislation amending Section 70-0117 of the Environmental Conservation Law (Uniform Procedures) to require application fees for certain regulated activities requiring a permit from the Department. All applications received are subject to the following fee schedule for each application, as applicable, before the Department can issue a permit decision.

Freshwater Wetlands Permits (ECL Article 24)

  • Minor projects $50
  • Modifications to Permits $50
  • Residential projects defined as associated with one single family dwelling and customary appurtenances thereto $50
  • Multiple family dwellings and customary appurtenances thereto $100
  • Other projects $200

No cash or credit cards may be used for payment at this time. Only checks or money orders will be accepted, made payable to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The cancelled check will be your receipt. Please file your payment with your permit application. There are no provisions for partial or full refund once you file an application, regardless of project changes or permit decision. If you have any questions regarding these requirements, please contact the Environmental Permits Unit in any DEC regional office. Also, DEC's Freshwater Wetlands Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page provides additional information.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Time Frames:

See our web page on UPA time frames

Remember, Contact DEC Early in Your Planning and be flexible - Let us help you!

  • Request regulatory staff to review and comment on your early plans with respect to the regulatory standards required by law.
  • Be flexible in the early stages of planning.
  • Streamline the review process: eliminating multiple mailings, multiple reviews, and misunderstandings by seeking clarifications from DEC staff as you plan the project, and by submitting accurate, complete information.