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Excavation or Placement of Fill in Navigable Waters

Regulated Activities

Navigable waters include lakes, rivers and other waterways and water bodies on which water vessels with a capacity of one or more persons are operated or can be operated. A Protection Of Waters Permit is required for: Excavating or placing fill in navigable waters of the state, below the mean high water level, including adjacent and contiguous marshes and wetlands. Some examples of activities requiring a permit are:

  • installation of support piers (larger than 12" in diameter) and cribs for docks or boathouses;
  • placement of fill for access, construction or structure installation (i.e., bridges, culverts, pipeline crossings);
  • excavations associated with construction activities and dredging for navigation channel establishment or maintenance;
  • sand or gravel mining.

Exempt Activities

An exemption from the requirement to obtain a Protection of Waters Permit for Excavation or Placement of Fill in Navigable Waters is for:
Waters that are surrounded by land held in single private ownership at every point in their total area.

Note: The exempt activity listed only represents exemptions for this section of the Protection of Waters Permit Program. Other DEC permits under other sections of the Protection of Waters Permit Program or under other Articles of the Environmental Conservation Law may be required.

Is Your Project Minor or Major?

Review time frames, procedures and requirements for public notice for applications are different for Minor and Major projects under the Uniform Procedures Act requirements (6NYCRR Part 621). Generally, Minor projects have shorter review time frames and require less public review. Minor projects are listed for each of the five permit designations. MINOR Excavation or Placement of Fill in Navigable Waters projects include:

  1. Fill of less than 100 cubic yards.
  2. Maintenance dredging occurring at least once every 10 years (restoring pre-existing depths and widths, not increasing to new depths or widths not previously maintained).
  3. Excavation of an area of 5,000 square feet or less.
  4. Installation of rip-rap of less than 100 linear feet for each parcel of land.
  5. Repair or replacement, in-kind and in-place, of existing structures.

All other activities are considered MAJOR excavation or fill projects for purposes of review and public notice as required by the Uniform Procedures Act. For additional information, see our web page Getting an Environmental Permit.

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    Albany, NY 12233-1750

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