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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.

Application Assistance

Contact your DEC regional Permits office with questions about completing the application form and other required information for your application.

Keep plans flexible until DEC staff review your proposal and comment on its conformance with permit standards. Be willing to adjust your project. On occasion, minor changes in layout can avoid disagreements and delays and, in some cases, eliminate the need for a permit.

Applicants proposing complex, multi-residential, commercial or industrial projects are strongly encouraged to schedule a pre-application conference. This meeting with DEC allows the applicant to clarify project objectives and obtain DEC's recommendations. Such feedback can improve the project environmentally and shorten the application procedure.

Application Checklist For Freshwater Wetlands

Required items include:

  1. The Joint Application for Permit Form (PDF) (637 KB) and Instructions for completing the Joint Application Form (PDF) (464 KB), are available on the Department's website page.
  2. Location Map: A US Geological Survey (USGS) Quadrangle Map, or equivalent, identifying the project location.
  3. 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.
  4. Photographs: At least 3 color photographs which clearly depict the site of the proposed activity.
  5. Water depth demonstration. DEC may require a survey of water depths for new boat mooring structures, such as docks, piers & floats.
  6. 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).
  7. Application Fees are required for Freshwater Wetlands applications. Refer to the Application Fees FAQs page to determine the fee amount.
  8. 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 webpage 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.
  9. 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) 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.