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Freshwater and Tidal Wetlands: Application Fees FAQs

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.

Freshwater Wetlands Permits (ECL Article 24)

  • Minor projects $50
  • Modifications to Permits $50
  • Residential projects defined as associated with one single family dwelling and customary appurtenances thereto $50
  • Multiple family dwellings and customary appurtenances thereto $100
  • Other projects $200

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.

Q. Do the application fees apply if, in the initial review of an application, it is determined that the applicant does not need a Freshwater or Tidal Wetlands permit?

A. The application fee will not apply in a circumstance where it is determined that no wetland permit is required. If payment for the application fee has already been received by the department, it will be returned to the applicant with notification that the department has no wetland permit jurisdiction.

Q. Do the fees apply to requests for jurisdictional determinations?

A. No, the fees do not apply to requests for jurisdictional determinations because they are not applications for permit. However, in those instances in which it is determined that a permit is required, and the applicant wishes to proceed with an application, the fee will then be applicable.

Q. Does a request for an extension of a Freshwater or Tidal Wetlands permit term require a fee?

A. Yes, wetland permits are considered construction permits and an extension of the permit term is a modification to the permit, therefore, the modification fee is applicable.

Q. Do the fees apply to requests for permit reissuance?

A. Yes, permit reissuance is a category of permit modification and requires payment of the modification fee amount. For those projects that are not eligible for reissuance, a new application and the appropriate fee must be submitted.

Q. If an activity requires both a Tidal Wetlands permit and a Freshwater Wetland permit, how is the total application fee determined?

A. A separate fee for each permit category is required, based on whether the overall activity is considered major or minor. In the case of an application for a residential activity, the freshwater wetland fee is based on the residential classification and the tidal wetlands fee based on the major or minor classification for the project.

Q. If a project is both residential (i.e., a single-family dwelling or a multi-family dwelling) and is also considered major for a Freshwater Wetland permit, does the dwelling fee take precedence over the major project fee?

A. Yes, if the activity involves the construction of a dwelling or is associated with a dwelling, the dwelling classification dictates the amount of the application fee.

Q. Do the fees apply to variances?

A. Yes, applications for projects involving a variance request in conjunction with an application for a Tidal or Freshwater Wetlands permit need to submit an application fee. The amount of the fee is based on whether the project is determined to be major or minor based on the activity associated with the variance. No separate fee is necessary for the variance itself.

Q. What fee is charged to modify an already issued freshwater or tidal wetlands permit?

A. The application fee for a modification to a Freshwater Wetlands permit is $50.00 and a modification to a Tidal Wetlands permit is $200.00.

Q. What fee is charged for a modification request that is treated as new?

A. When a modification request causes you to treat the application as new for administrative and decision making purposes; i.e., full UPA time frames and, where applicable, public notice, then the fee should be for that of a new application as that is commensurate with the review effort.

Q. Is a wetland fee required for the transfer of a permit or pending application from one individual or entity to another?

A. No, a fee is not required for these minor permit modification transactions.

Q. How are determinations of major and minor projects made?

A. The Regional DEC Environmental Permits office will make the decision based on the Uniform Procedures Act (UPA). Where necessary, regional natural resources staff will be consulted to determine if the nature of a proposed activity, with respect to wetland boundaries and other factors, will affect the classification of the activity.

Q. If an application includes activities considered minor pursuant to wetlands jurisdiction and major pursuant to another jurisdiction, does the applicant pay a fee for a minor or major project?

A. When a project involves a permit application for both major and minor activities, the application will be processed as major. Therefore, the application fee submitted should be based on the project being major.

Q. When a project changes from major to minor, or vice versa, is the applicant charged the application fee as the project is submitted or the application fee as the project is ultimately approved?

A. When an application is submitted as major, it is considered major even if it is revised to be a minor activity during the project review process. Projects that are determined to be major following an initial determination of minor shall require an additional payment to equal a fee for a major project. The rationale for this decision is the need to undertake a more in-depth project review in either circumstance. Applicants should be aware that project alternatives and design cannot only affect permit decision making, but also the amount of the application fee.

Q. Do the freshwater wetland fees apply to projects within the Adirondack Park Agency's administration of the Freshwater Wetlands Law?

A. No, the legislation only covers freshwater wetlands under the department's jurisdiction located outside of the Adirondack Park.

Q. Do the fees apply to emergency authorizations?

A. No, in an emergency, the department must act quickly; therefore, making a minor-major decision on the action and assessing a fee prior to authorization are not practical. However, if an activity will continue past the emergency authorization period, an application for permit must be submitted and a fee is required to be submitted with that application.

Q. Are state and local agencies required to submit application fees?

A. Yes, local municipalities, state agencies and public authorities are required to submit an application fee for any work in freshwater and tidal wetlands. The NYS Legislative bill does not contain an exemption for such agencies and authorities.

Q. Does the fee apply to general permits?

A. No fee will be charged when an applicant seeks authorization for wetland jurisdictional activities under an established general permit. This applies to all Freshwater and Tidal Wetland general permits whether they are available to the general public or issued to a specific entity for multiple activities at various locations.

A one-time application fee is to be charged when an application is made for the initial issuance of a general permit to a state agency or utility for multiple routine on-going activities, such as routine maintenance work. If a permittee under this permit category requests a modification to the provisions of the permit, a modification fee is to be charged. Also, when a programmatic permit is about to expire and the permittee requests issuance of the permit for a new term, an application fee is to be charged as if the application were new.

Q. Is the application fee an element of completeness?

A. A completeness determination cannot be withheld because the application fee hasn't been submitted. But a permit decision can be withheld until the fee is received by the department. If a project is determined to be incomplete, the fee requirement will be identified as part of the notice of incomplete application.

Q. Can failure to pay an application fee be grounds for permit denial?

A. Yes, the NYS Legislature made the fees a requirement for an application. Failing to satisfy this requirement is grounds for permit denial.

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