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General Permit for Great Lakes Erosion Control, GP-0-20-004

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a general permit for various shoreline stabilization and structural repair activities in state-regulated waters, wetlands, and coastal erosion hazard areas along Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Niagara River, and St. Lawrence River. The Great Lakes Erosion Control General Permit (GP-0-20-004) was issued on May 8, 2020 for a five-year term in response to recurring high-water events in these systems and the ongoing need for affected property owners to install shoreline stabilization measures and repair damaged property.

Before doing any work under the General Permit, individuals must apply for coverage under the General Permit and then receive written approval from DEC for the work proposed. Applications must include all the following items and be sent to the appropriate DEC Regional Office identified in the instructions:

  • A properly completed application form,
  • Project location map,
  • Site photographs,
  • Project drawings, including overhead (plan) and side (cross-section) views.

The application form and detailed application instructions are provided below. Also provided below is the General Permit containing a full description of the types of activities eligible for coverage, along with all the terms and conditions.

Any questions concerning the eligibility of a project for coverage under the General Permit, or assistance in completing an application, may be directed to the Division of Environmental Permits staff in the DEC regional office covering the county where the project is located.

Only the types of projects listed below are eligible for coverage. All other types of projects, or projects that exceed the limits contained in the General Permit, are ineligible and require an individual permit from DEC.

  1. Repair and in-kind replacement of existing functional erosion protection structures. The repair or replacement of these structures must not extend waterward of the pre-existing footprint, except where the Department accepts an applicant's demonstration that minor deviations are necessary for the stability of the structure. Increase in structure height may be approved if appropriate. Replacement structures must be adequately sized and designed.
  2. New stone necessary for the stabilization of existing, functional, vertical erosion protection structures along CEHA bluffs or non-CEHA areas. Stone must be sized appropriately for the location. Minor deviations in the original structure's configuration, including those due to changes in materials, construction techniques, or current construction codes or safety standards that are necessary to make the repair, rehabilitation, or replacement are authorized. Not applicable along beach or dune CEHA shorelines.
  3. New sloped rock revetment structures along CEHA bluffs or non-CEHA areas, that are necessary for the emergency stabilization of existing and functional dwellings. Structures must be no greater than 100 feet in length and 10 feet in height and must be sloped no steeper than 1.5H to 1V and not extend waterward of the existing shoreline, or the shoreline as it existed immediately prior to a discrete erosion event no more than 6 months prior to the time of permit application. Stone must be sized appropriately and placed as close to the toe of the slope as possible. Not applicable along beach or dune CEHA shorelines.
  4. Emergency repair of functional concrete or steel vertical breakwalls along bluffs or non-CEHA areas, by installation of sheet piling immediately adjacent to the existing lakeward vertical face. Not applicable along beach or dune CEHA shorelines.
  5. Repair or in-kind reconstruction of existing public roads, bridges, utilities and other public infrastructure.
  6. Stabilization of existing functional storm-damaged dwellings, decks and walkways with temporary bracing and pilings.
  7. Repair or in-kind reconstruction of elevated walkways or stairways necessary for water access. The stairs and landings shall be a maximum of 4 feet in width and constructed a minimum of 18 inches above grade over the dune/bluff face.
  8. Minor grading back of the top of scarped bluffs landward to a stable slope. Project must include an approved vegetation plan. Toe stone for stabilization may be allowed in specific circumstances.
  9. Removal of debris by use of motorized equipment.
  10. Temporary installation of sandbags or other Department approved temporary flood protection devices located above MHW. Sandbags may be conventional or large (cubic yard or larger).
  11. Removal of channel blockages of streams tributary to Lake Ontario and Lake Erie blocked by shoreline sediment or other natural-deposited materials. Application must include a disposal plan.
  12. Repair or in-kind reconstruction of previously authorized docks, catwalks and floats located within CEHA areas and within DEC regulated freshwater wetlands or wetland adjacent areas.
  13. New shoreline stabilization measures that consist predominately of vegetative stabilization or bioengineering techniques. Structures must be no greater than 200 feet in length and 10 feet in height and must be sloped no steeper than 1.5H to 1V and not extend waterward of the existing shoreline, or the shoreline as it existed immediately prior to a discrete erosion event no more than 6 months prior to the time of permit application. Stone or other materials must be sized appropriately and placed as close to the toe of the slope as possible.

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  • NYSDEC
    Division of Environmental Permits
    4th Floor
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1750
    518-402-9167
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