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Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Permit Program: Application Procedures

Uniform Procedures

Middle Branch of the Oswegatchie

The procedures and schedules for applications for rivers system permits are governed by Article 70 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) and its implementing regulations contained in 6NYCRR Parts 621 and 624. An application for a permit will be filed by the applicant with the Regional Permit Administrator on a form prescribed by the Department. Click down-loadable application form in the table of links to the left of this text, or write or call your regional "DEC Permits" office.

Complete Application

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.

A complete application will include:

  1. a detailed description of the regulated activity;
  2. a map showing the area affected, with the location of the proposed regulated activity and the river;
  3. a statement addressing feasible alternatives which do not affect river resource values or on a site not regulated by the Wild Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act;
  4. a statement identifying the owner of the subject property, and where applicable, written permission of said owner for the applicant to seek permission for and to carry out the planned use of the proposed activity;
  5. a description of the planned use of the subject property once the proposed regulated activity is completed;
  6. a plan at scale acceptable to the Department which identifies the lot boundary and the river;
  7. a clearly labeled photograph of the site;
  8. a variance request when applicable as specified in Section 666.9, and
  9. such additional information as the Regional Permit Administrator deems necessary to enable the department to make the findings and determinations required under this part. For example, the applicant may be required to submit a list of the names of the owners of lands adjacent to the subject property upon which the regulated activity is to be undertaken.

Pre-Application Assistance

The Department strongly recommends that you schedule a pre-application conference for complex multi-residential, commercial and industrial projects. This serves as a forum allowing the applicant to explain the proposed project to DEC and to get preliminary answers to questions concerning:

  • project plans,
  • application procedures,
  • wetland and adjacent area boundaries when applicable,
  • minimum flows and fish protection and passage at hydropower projects,
  • performance standards for stream crossings and wetland incursions of transmission lines and other constructions,
  • standards for permit issuance.

Matters concerning the water quality certificate should be raised during the initial public meeting that commences the initial stage of consultation for a federally licensed hydropower project.

To schedule a pre-application conference, contact the appropriate regional DEC office: ask for the Division of Environmental Permits.

The Department recommends keeping initial plans flexible until your proposal has been reviewed in relation to the standards of the regulatory agencies involved. Multiple mailings, multiple reviews, and misunderstandings can be eliminated by seeking clarifications from DEC staff during the planning stages of the project, and by submitting accurate, complete information. Often, minor changes in layout can avoid disagreements and delays.

Time Frames

Application submission, time frames, and processing procedures are governed by the provisions of Article 70 of the Environmental Conservation Law, the Uniform Procedures Act and its implementing regulations, (NYCRR Part 621).

Within 15 calendar days of receiving an application for a wild scenic or recreational rivers system permit, DEC will determine whether or not it contains all the information needed to begin review. If the application is not complete, the Environmental Permits staff will send the applicant a "Notice of Incomplete Application" detailing what is needed.

Once DEC receives all the necessary information, the application is determined complete, the applicant is so notified and the review process is begun. Minor projects may require 45 calendar days for a decision on the permit. Major project review may require up to 90 days if no public hearing is held, and up to 60 days after the close of a public hearing, if one is necessary. (see Is this a Project Major or Minor)

Time frames may be suspended:

  1. By mutual agreement of the DEC and the applicant,
  2. If enforcement action has been started against the applicant, or
  3. If another agency is leading the environmental review of the project under SEQR and has not yet completed the review. (See SEQR )

  • 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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