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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 Checklist For Freshwater Wetlands

Required items include:

  1. The Joint Application for Permit Form (PDF) (548 KB) and Instructions for completing the Joint Application Form (PDF) (311 KB), are available on the Department's website page.
  2. The Permission to Inspect Property Form (PDF) (25 KB) is available on the Department's website page.
  3. Location Map: A US Geological Survey (USGS) Quadrangle Map, or equivalent, identifying the project location.
  4. Project Plans:
    • Draw 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.
    • 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.
    • Refer to Sample Plans (PDF) (4 MB) available on the Department's website page.
  5. Photographs: At least 3 color photographs which clearly depict the site of the proposed activity.
  6. Water depth demonstration. DEC may require a survey of water depths for new boat mooring structures, such as docks, piers & floats.
  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. 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).
  8. Application Fees are required for Freshwater Wetlands applications. Refer to Application Fees FAQs.
    Freshwater Wetlands Application Fees
    • 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
  9. Environmental Assessment Form (EAF).
    • In accordance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), an application is not complete until a properly completed environmental assessment form has been submitted, a lead agency has been established, and a negative declaration or a conditioned negative declaration has been filed or a draft environmental impact statement has been accepted by the lead agency.
    • Refer to the Department's SEQR website page for additional information on environmental impact assessment.
    • SEQR Forms are available on the Department's website page.
      • If the project is an Unlisted Action, submit a completed Part 1 of a Short Environmental Assessment Form.
      • If the project is a Type I Action, submit a completed Part 1 of a Full Environmental Assessment Form.
  10. Structural Archaeological Assessment Form (SAAF).
    • In accordance with the State Historic Preservation Act (SHPA), the application is not complete until a determination has been made concerning the impact of the project on properties listed on or eligible for listing on the State or National Register of Historic Places.
    • Submit a completed Structural Archaeological Assessment Form (SAAF) (PDF) (905 KB) available on the Department's website page. In some cases, a cultural resource survey, including a field study of archaeological or historic features may be needed.