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Tidal 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.

Wetland at North Tivoli Bay, Hudson River

Locate your property and check whether or not a protected wetland is either on or adjacent to your property. 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 your project might come within 300 ft. of a protected wetland (150 feet inland within NYC), you must mark the tidal wetland boundary and show this line on any site plans you submit with your permit application. You must also show any freshwater wetlands present on the site and mark their wetland boundary. Determination of the tidal and freshwater wetland boundaries is the responsibility of the applicant.

The Tidal Wetlands Permit Issuance Standards require you to avoid or minimize impacts to the wetlands - you need the above information to plan for meeting that standard.

Schedule a Pre-application Conference Now!

Applicants are often pleased to discover 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 those applicants unfamiliar with DEC permitting procedures, as well as those with complex, multiresidential, commercial or industrial projects, to schedule a pre-application conference. This meeting allows you to obtain preliminary answers to questions about

  • project plans,
  • construction procedures, including equipment access and logistics of materials and equipment storage
  • application procedures,
  • wetland and adjacent area boundaries, and
  • standards for permit issuance.

All project plans must show the tidal wetland boundary. Determination of this boundary is the responsibility of the applicant.

Schedule your pre-application conference now. Contact the appropriate regional DEC Environmental Permits office.

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.

Land Use Guidelines

Part 661 regulations detail the types of use and development that are usually permissible in different types of wetlands, and in adjacent areas (See Section 661.5 Use Guidelines). Whenever possible, projects should be planned to conform to these guidelines. For more information concerning the different types of tidal wetlands as classified by DEC, visit the Bureau of Marine Resources webpage on tidal wetlands categories.

Development Restrictions and Variances

Where development is permitted, the regulations include additional requirements for minimum lot sizes; runoff restrictions; setback requirements for buildings, septic systems, roadways, accessory structures, etc. (See Section 661.6 Development Restrictions). Ensure prompt project approval - comply with these restrictions whenever property conditions permit. Variances to the development restrictions can be granted only if the applicant demonstrates that:

  1. Practical difficulties exist, which are not of the applicant's own making, which prevent compliance with the development restrictions. (Examples of practical difficulty include pre-existing lot size or geometry which prevents meeting requirements, or conflicting provisions of local building or zoning codes.)
  2. The variance sought is the minimum needed.
  3. Granting the variance will not result in an undue adverse impact on the affected wetland.
Aerial of wetlands in Tivoli Bay, Hudson River

Projects requiring variances, or that propose development inconsistent with the Development Restrictions of Section 661.6 will probably require significant modification to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts in order to be approved. See item 10 below for more information.

Application Requirements - Complete Application

To be complete, an 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. Describe the purpose of the project
    A description of the purpose of the proposed regulated activity.
  3. Location Map
    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 (required number of copies). It is also necessary to provide the county, city, or village tax lot identification numbers for the project site. A photocopy of the tax bill will be sufficient for this purpose.
  4. Adjacent Owners
    A list of the names of the owners-of-record of lands adjacent to the tidal wetland or adjacent area where the project is located and, in some cases, a list of the names of known claimants of water rights for the project property or for property within 300 feet of the project property.
  5. Project Plans
    Draw project plans to a scale no smaller than 1" = 50'. Draw plans for small projects to a sufficient scale to reasonably represent the project on standard working drawings no smaller than 8-1/2" X 11". Topography drawn with a two foot contour interval may be required on some project plans (check with your regional permit administrator). The drawing must show existing conditions and the work to be performed and include all pertinent dimensions and elevations.

    This plan must also show the mean high water line and the tidal wetlands boundary. The wetlands boundary may be on the plans as it was delineated at the site by an environmental consultant, or shown as an accurate representation of the tidal wetland boundary as taken from the official tidal wetland maps.

    You must also provide a cross sectional drawing through any proposed modification of beach or lands under water. 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 groundwater.

    Please remember to submit four copies of the project plans with your application.
  6. 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.
  7. 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) (See page 9 regarding SEQR and 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.
  8. Landowners 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.
  9. Other information
    Other information which the department may determine is necessary to adequately review and evaluate the application, such as engineering or supplemental reports, justifying this proposal over alternative non-wetland sites and alternative layouts or designs which might avoid or minimize impacts to wetlands.
  10. Variances
    For projects which require a variance, or which seek approval of uses designated in Section 661.5 as PIp (Presumably Incompatible-permit required), I (Incompatible), or P (Permit required), a statement that identifies feasible alternatives to the proposed project including:
    • Alternatives located on a site that is not a tidal wetland or adjacent area;
    • Alternatives that accomplish the project's objectives by means that do not adversely affect tidal wetlands;
    • Alternatives that reduce or minimize the project's encroachment and/or impact on tidal wetlands.
    When a variance is required, a written request setting forth the facts supporting the variance, must be submitted. This must include:
    • A clear statement of the specific element of the Development Restrictions in Section 661.6 from which you seek relief.
    • Specific identification of the extent of the variance sought.
    • Description and justification of the minimum variance necessary.
    • Identification and explanation of the practical difficulties claimed which support the need for the variance requested.

Once an application is declared complete and review begins, it may become clear that additional information is needed to complete the review and make a decision. You will be notified of what information is necessary, and this must be submitted 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.

Tidal Wetlands Permits (ECL Article 25)

  • Minor projects $200
  • Modifications to Permits $200
  • Other projects $900

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 webpage on UPA timeframes

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.

  • Important Links
  • Contact for this Page
  • NYS DEC
    Division of Environmental Permits
    4th Floor
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1750
    518-402-9167
    Send us an email
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