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Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Permit Program: Do I Need a Permit?

Regulated Activities:

Existing Land Uses

Dams, Impoundments and Water Withdrawals

Residential Structures

Non-Residential Structures

Roads, Trails, Bridges and Motorized Access

Water Quality, Wastewater Treatment and Waste Disposal

Signs and Commercial Directories

Public Utility Uses

Existing Land Uses Grandfathered

1. Continuation, without change, of land uses that were lawfully existing on the date upon which these regulations first took effect in the river area where the project is located, do not require a permit for any of the classes of rivers.

2. The acts of maintaining, rehabilitating, restoring, replacing or reconstructing lawfully existing structures as above or their improvements provided the structures are not changed, require no permit for any of the river classes

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Discontinued Land Uses Require a Permit to Resume

Resumption of a discontinued land use after it has been discontinued for one year, requires a permit in all of the river classes. Except that agricultural land which has been farmed in two of the five preceding years or which is enrolled in a federal set aside program as a part of certified farm plan does not require a permit to resume the agricultural use.

Development of lawfully existing lots for land uses allowed in the river area require a permit. Irrespective of whether the lot meets minimum lot area or shoreline frontage widths. Note: All contiguous parcels held in actual or effective ownership on or after the date on which this part took effect in a given river area shall be deemed to be a single lot.

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Dams, Impoundments and Water Withdrawals

One may not modify any listed waterway by impoundment, diversion, rip-rap, bulkheads or other structures or improvements that impede or alter the natural flow of water or the free flowing condition of the river.

Water withdrawals from the river subject to the provisions of Part 666.11(b) are permitted on all river segments except those holding the designation "wild". No water withdrawals, surface water diversions, ground water withdrawals, water releases, or water related or water dependent land uses within the watershed of a designated river segment are permitted where a "wild river" segment has been designated. These activities are permitted on all other designated river segments. are permitted on "wild" rivers.

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Residential Structures

Wild Rivers

No residential structures of any sort may be located on a river segment designated "Wild".

Scenic Rivers

A 250 ft buffer is required for Scenic segments. A permit is required for structures located between 250 feet and one half mile from the banks of a scenic river. Multiple family structure are not allowed within one half mile of a scenic river segment. Expansions of lawfully existing residential structures which do not exceed any standard established in 6NYCRR Part 666 are allowed and require no permit in a Scenic River segment. Conversions of existing principal buildings associated with resort hotels, rental cottages, and group camps to residential use are not allowed.

Recreational Rivers

A 150 foot buffer is required on Recreational segments, beyond 150 feet, private dwellings, mobile homes, and multiple family dwellings may be located with a permit. however as above no residential structure may be located within 150 feet of the bank of any designated river segment or its tributary, or within its 100 year floodplain. A permit is required for conversions of existing principal buildings associated with resort hotels, rental cottages, and group camps to residential use. Expansions of lawfully existing residential structures which do not exceed any standard established in 6NYCRR Part 666 are allowed and require no permit

Recreational Rivers within Communities

Private dwellings and mobile home dwellings may be located between 150 feet and 250 feet of the river or tributary bank of recreational rivers within communities. Permits are required in such segments.

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Non Residential Structures

Wild River Segments

No structure of any sort is permitted within one half mile of a Wild River segment.

Scenic River Segments

Agricultural use structures located 100 feet or more from the river bank are allowed and do not require a permit.

Docks, Boathouses, Stream Improvement Structures and Fences are allowed but require a permit.

Forest management and accessory structures (other than docks and boathouses) located on slopes of 15% or less and beyond the 100 year floodplain are not permitted less than 250 feet from the river bank. Those located more than 250 feet from the river bank are allowed and do not require a permit.

Lean-tos of less than 200 sq ft. floor space are allowed, no permit is is necessary.

Lean-tos of with floor space equal or greater than 200 sq ft are allowed, but do require a permit.

Recreational River Segments

Agricultural use structures located 100 feet or more from the river bank are allowed and do not require a permit.

Forest management and accessory structures (other than docks and boathouses) located on slopes of 15% or less and beyond the 100 year floodplain are not permitted less than 150 feet from the river bank. Those located more than 150 feet from the river bank are allowed and do not require a permit.

Lean-tos of less than 200 sq ft. floor space are allowed, no permit is is necessary.

Lean-tos of with floor space equal or greater than 200 sq ft are allowed, but do require a permit.

Docks, Boathouses, Stream Improvement Structures and Fences are allowed but require a permit.

Recreational Rivers within Communities

Agricultural use structures located 100 feet or more from the river bank are allowed and do not require a permit.

Forest management and accessory structures (other than docks and boathouses) located on slopes of 15% or less and beyond the 100 year floodplain are not permitted less than 150 feet from the river bank. Those located more than 150 feet from the river bank are allowed and do not require a permit.

Lean-tos of less than 200 sq ft. floor space are allowed, no permit is is necessary.

Lean-tos of with floor space equal or greater than 200 sq ft are allowed, but do require a permit.

Docks, Boathouses, Stream Improvement Structures and Fences are allowed but require a permit.

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Roads, Trails, Bridges, and Motorized Access

Wild River Segments

Private or public roads and private driveways greater than 100 ft long are forbidden.

Forest management roads and tributary bridges must be located more than 150 feet from the bank of the designated river segment but are otherwise allowed without permit.

Trails are allowed with permit

Use of motorized equipment and vehicles for forest management purposes is allowed without permit.

Bridges of any sort are prohibited over all wild river segments, They are also prohibited within the protected corridor of a designated wild river segment,even if not over the wild river itself.

Scenic River Segments

Private or public roads and private driveways greater than 100 ft long are allowed with permit.

Forest management roads and tributary bridges must be located more than 150 feet from the bank of the designated river segment but are otherwise allowed without permit.

Use of motorized equipment and vehicles for forest management purposes is allowed without permit

Trails are allowed with permit

Bridges are allowed for non-motorized open space recreational uses with permit over the river segment and no permit is necessary for other bridges constructed for those purposes within the protected corridor.

Recreational River Segments

Private or public roads and private driveways greater than 100 ft long are allowed with permit.

Forest management roads and tributary bridges must be located more than 150 feet from the bank of the designated river segment but are otherwise allowed without permit.

Trails are allowed with permit

Use of motorized equipment and vehicles for forest management purposes is allowed without permit

Bridges are allowed for non-motorized open space recreational uses with permit over the river segment and no permit is necessary for other bridges constructed for those purposes within the protected corridor.

Recreational River Segments within Communities

Private or public roads and private driveways greater than 100 ft long are allowed with permit.

Forest management roads and tributary bridges must be located more than 150 feet from the bank of the designated river segment but are otherwise allowed without permit.

Trails are allowed with permit

Use of motorized equipment and vehicles for forest management purposes is allowed without permit.

Bridges are allowed for non-motorized open space recreational uses with permit over the river segment and no permit is necessary for other bridges constructed for those purposes within the protected corridor.

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Water Quality, Wastewater Treatment, and Waste Disposal

Wild River Segments

Private water supply wells, private sewage disposal systems and waste treatment, storage or disposal are all forbidden within the protected corridor of a wild river segment.

Scenic River Segments

Private water supply wells and private sewage disposal systems are allowed with permit.

Waste treatment, storage or disposal except in temporary containers specifically intended for storage of such refuse are all forbidden within the protected corridor designated river segment.

Recreational River Segments

Private water supply wells and private sewage disposal systems are allowed with permit.

Waste treatment, storage or disposal except in temporary containers specifically intended for storage of such refuse are all forbidden within the protected corridor designated river segment.

Recreational River Segments within Communities

Private water supply wells and private sewage disposal systems are allowed with permit.

Waste treatment, storage or disposal except in temporary containers specifically intended for storage of such refuse are all forbidden within the protected corridor designated river segment.

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Signs and Commercial Directories

Wild River Segments

No signs of any sort are allowed in the protected corridor of any wild river segment.

Scenic River Segments

Public safety or regulatory signs by any authorized state or local government agency or public utility where otherwise allowed by law are allowed without permit.

Signs posted pursuant to Sections 11-2109 and 11-2111 of the Environmental Conservation Law that do not exceed 3 sq ft in size and are less than ten feet high are allowed without permit

Signs posted pursuant to Sections 11-2109 and 11-2111 of the Environmental Conservation Law that exceed 3 sq ft in size or are more than ten feet high are allowed with permit

Informational and directional signs less than 1sq ft area and less than 10 feet high which are necessary to the continuance of any existing use are allowed without permit. Such signs larger than 1 sq ft or 10 ft or higher require a permit.

Recreational River Segments

Public safety or regulatory signs by any authorized state or local government agency or public utility where otherwise allowed by law are allowed without permit.

Signs posted pursuant to Sections 11-2109 and 11-2111 of the Environmental Conservation Law that do not exceed 3 sq ft in size and are less than ten feet high are allowed without permit

Signs posted pursuant to Sections 11-2109 and 11-2111 of the Environmental Conservation Law that exceed 3 sq ft in size or are more than ten feet high are allowed with permit

Informational and directional signs less than 1sq ft area and less than 10 feet high which are necessary to the continuance of any existing use are allowed without permit. Such signs larger than 1 sq ft or 10 ft or higher require a permit.

Recreational River Segments within a Community

Public safety or regulatory signs by any authorized state or local government agency or public utility where otherwise allowed by law are allowed without permit.

Signs posted pursuant to Sections 11-2109 and 11-2111 of the Environmental Conservation Law that do not exceed 3 sq ft in size and are less than ten feet high are allowed without permit

Signs posted pursuant to Sections 11-2109 and 11-2111 of the Environmental Conservation Law that exceed 3 sq ft in size or are more than ten feet high are allowed with permit

Informational and directional signs less than 1sq ft area and less than 10 feet high which are necessary to the continuance of any existing use are allowed without permit. Such signs larger than 1 sq ft or 10 ft or higher require a permit.

Return to list of Regulated Activities

Public Utility Use

Wild River Segments

No public utilities uses are allowed within the protected corridor of a wild river segment.

Scenic River Segments

Public utility uses subject to review pursuant to Articles VII, VIII and X of the Public Service Law are allowed without permit.

Public utility uses which are not major uses and do not cross the designated river and are proposed to be located no less than 500 ft from the river bank are allowed without permit. Those which are major uses or which cross the designated river or are within 500 ft of the river are allowed with permit.

Recreational River Segments

Public utility uses subject to review pursuant to Articles VII, VIII and X of the Public Service Law are allowed without permit

Public utility uses which are not major uses and do not cross the designated river and are proposed to be located no less than 500 ft from the river bank are allowed without permit. Those which are major uses or which cross the designated river or are within 500 ft of the river are allowed with permit.

Recreational River Segments within Communities

Public Utility uses subject to review pursuant to Articles VII, VIII and X of the Public Service Law are allowed without permit.

Public utility uses which are not major uses and do not cross the designated river and are proposed to be located no less than 500 ft from the river bank are allowed without permit. Those which are major uses or which cross the designated river or are within 500 ft of the river are allowed with permit.


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    Division of Environmental Permits
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    Albany, NY 12233-1750
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