New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Agency Contacts & Information

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The NYS DEC regulates activities on or near the New York City shoreline, including tidal and freshwater wetland areas. Fees are required for Tidal Wetlands and Freshwater Wetlands permits.

Contact Information

Address

Regional Permit Administrator
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Region 2
1 Hunter’s Point Plaza
47-40 21st Street
Long Island City, NY 11101-5401

Working with the NYS DEC

What to Know Before You Apply

You don’t need to know in advance all of the permits you need from the NYS DEC. They’ll determine that for you, based on the project information you provide. If you need more than one permit for your project, they may package the permits together and track them all under one core permit.

Some Project Require an Initial Discussion

Contact the DEC by phone or email for answers to your questions on small scale projects. If you are dredging, have a difficult site, or a complex project, you can request an up-front discussion or a pre-application meeting for permit guidance. The DEC can discuss your project with you and determine whether or not a pre-application meeting is needed.

For Projects in or Adjacent to Wetlands

If your project is in or near a wetland, bear in mind that:

  1. Wetlands boundaries are often not well defined. A NYS DEC specialist may need to review your project and determine the wetland boundary and whether the project location and scope is within DEC jurisdiction.
  2. Development restrictions may apply. Find out in advance you can or cannot do in the different types of wetland areas by checking what regulations apply to your planned activity.

Tidal wetlands use guidelines

Freshwater wetlands use guidelines

If You Have Existing Violations

Project sites that are found to have illegal structures or land improvements (for example, a building or development constructed without a permit and not grandfathered under NYS DEC policy) may be subject to legal action. Violations may be resolved as a part of the permitting process at DEC’s discretion.

Application Requirements and Fees

You must mail hard copies of the DEC’s Waterfront Activities Application Checklist (DEC to provide link); all required documents and drawings, as indicated on the checklist below; and one (1) digital copy (files in pdf format on a CD) of the entire submission to: Regional Permit Administrator, NYS DEC Region 2, 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City, NY 11101-5407.

For a general list of requirements, see: DEC’s Waterfront Activities Application Checklist

For a complete list of Joint Application requirements for all agencies, see: Joint Application Checklist

Required Documents

Provide three (3) hard copies of the following documents:

Required Drawings

Provide three (3) hard copies of the drawings listed below. If full scale drawings exceed 11” x 17″ , provide two (2) full scale and one (1) reduced scale (11” x 17”) copies of the following documents:

  • Drawing Cover Sheet (Recommended for moderate to large projects with multiple drawings)
  • Existing Site Conditions Map
  • Site Location Map and Vicinity Map
  • Proposed Site/Project Plans
  • Cross-Section Drawings
  • Color Site Photos (at least three) and Photo Location Map
  • Details and Other Plans (If applicable)

Required Fees

The NYS DEC requests that fees be submitted with applications.

 Tidal Wetlands PermitFreshwater Wetlands Permit
Minor* Projects$200$50
Modifications to Permits$200$50
Major* Projects$900$200
Single Family Residence$200 or $900, as applicable$50
Multiple Family Dwellings$200 or $900, as applicable$100

* To determine whether your project is major or minor, see more informations in the sections below:

  • Tidal Wetlands Permit
  • Freshwater Wetlands Permit

What to Expect After You Apply

Review and Completeness Determination

After they receive your permit application, the NYS DEC staff reviews your submission for completeness (all documents and drawings are included and contain the required information) and compliance (how the project conforms to development regulation and restrictions for the proposed activity).

The DEC may then send you a Notice of Incomplete Application (NOIA) requesting you re-submit your application if it is deemed incomplete or if they need more information. The NOIA may include project design modifications requested by the DEC to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any impacts to the wetland habitat and/or to conform to wetland development restrictions.

Typical Timeframes

Once an application is determined to be complete, DEC must notify applicants within certain timeframes about a determination. These timeframes are regulated by the Uniform Procedure Act.

Type of Project Notification from DEC
Minor* Projects Within 45 days
Major* Projects – if no public hearing is required Within 90 days
Major* Projects – with public hearings Public hearing must be held within 90 days. Final decision within 60 days after receiving a final hearing record.

* To determine whether your project is major or minor, see more informations in the sections below:

  • Tidal Wetlands Permit
  • Freshwater Wetlands Permit

Modifications, Transfers, and Renewals
Most projects have a permit duration of up to five years, but may be renewed, modified, and extended up to 10 years. Maintenance dredging projects have a permit duration of 10 years.

  • Requests to renew, modify, or transfer a permit must be in writing to NYS DEC office in Long Island City.
  • If you have an existing permit and wish to transfer it to someone else, you need to complete an Application for Permit Transfer form. The Application for Permit Transfer requires certification by both the proposed new owner/operator and the present permittee. Please allow 30 days for processing.
  • If you are the new owner of property with an existing waterfront permit in place and are aware of any existing violations, there is a process for disclosing these to the NYS DEC. Please see the following for more information:

Waterfront Permits & Certifications

Tidal Wetlands Permit

Tidal Wetlands permits are required for a range of activities on tidal wetlands and their adjacent areas.

Tidal wetlands are wetlands where tidal flooding occurs on a daily, monthly, or intermittent basis. For the purposes of NYS DEC permitting, tidal wetlands include the coastal shoreline as well as marshes, flats, shoals, bars, and all lands under tidal waters up to a depth of six feet at Mean Low Water (MLW). These areas are delineated on the New York State Tidal Wetland Inventory.

In New York City, a tidal wetland adjacent area may include any land area up to and within 150 feet from the tidal wetland boundary. Certain existing site conditions may limit the exact extent of the adjacent area.

Major vs. Minor Tidal Wetlands Projects

The NYS DEC divides tidal wetlands projects into major or minor
Tidal Wetlands Permit Program – Is this Project Major or Minor?

Development Restrictions

The following development restrictions apply to any new regulated activity on any tidal wetland or adjacent area:

  • Generally, a minimum setback of 30 feet from the landward edge of any tidal wetland is required for all principal buildings and all other structures in excess of 100 square feet in NYC (exceptions apply).
  • The minimum setback of sewage disposal systems is 100 feet landward from the tidal wetland line.
  • Sewage disposal systems shall have a two (2) foot minimal clearance from seasonal high ground water and other impermeable materials.
  • Not more than 20 percent of the adjacent area within a property shall be covered by existing and new structures and other impervious (non-porous) surfaces (exceptions apply).
  • Minimum lot areas are stipulated for any building constructed within the regulated area.
  • Clustering of residential buildings is permitted to encourage the maintenance of undeveloped areas in or adjoining tidal wetland areas.
  • The minimum setback in NYC of all impervious (non-porous) surfaces such as driveways, roads, and parking lots is 30 feet from the tidal wetland line.
  • Substantial increases in surface water runoff to selected tidal waters shall be prevented through the use of control measures such as dry wells, retention basins, filters, open swales, or ponds.


Freshwater Wetlands Permit

The NYS DEC Freshwater Wetlands Permit Program regulates a wide range of projects, work, and activities that occur in freshwater wetlands and their adjacent areas. 

Freshwater wetlands

Lands and submerged lands that may have water visible for only part of the year, such as marshes, swamps, sloughs, bogs, and flats. They support aquatic or semi-aquatic vegetation and are valuable resources for flood control, surface and ground water protection, and wildlife habitat.

Freshwater wetland adjacent areas

Land or water areas that are outside the wetland, but within 100 feet of the wetland border (exceptions apply) that provide a valuable buffer to the wetland itself.

Where regulations apply

The DEC’s Freshwater Wetland Permit Program is limited to freshwater wetlands that appear on the New York State Fisheries Maps, and are at least 12.4 acres in size, or are designated as Unusual Local Importance (ULI) wetlands.

Major vs. Minor Freshwater Wetlands Projects

The NYS DEC divides freshwater wetlands projects into major or minor:
Freshwater Wetlands Permit Program – Is this Project Major or Minor

Protection of Waters Permit

An NYS DEC Protection of Waters permit is required work or activity where there will be:

  • Disturbance of Streams – Disturbance of a bed or banks of a protected stream, which includes water bodies in the course of a stream of 10 acres or less, with a classification of AA, A or B, or with a classification of C with a standard of (T) or (TS)
  • Docks and Moorings – Construction, reconstruction and expansion of piers, wharfs, platforms, breakwaters, docking facilities, and the placement of moorings
  • Excavation and Placement of Fill in Navigable Waters – Excavating or placing fill in any navigable waters of New York State, including ponds, lakes, rivers, and navigable streams with a classification and standard of C or D.

In addition to the water body or watercourse itself, adjacent and contiguous wetlands are also subject to permitting. However, a permit is not required for navigable waters that are totally surrounded by land held in a single private ownership.

Where regulations apply

Protection of Waters permitting applies to the following applications:

  • Disturbance of Streams – Areas within the bed or banks of a protected stream, where a bank is not considered to extend more than 50 feet from mean high water or beyond top of a uniform angled slope; and a (stream) bed is land area covered by water at mean high water
  • Docks and Moorings – Applies to dock and mooring structures on or above the navigable waters of the state (exceptions apply).

Excavation and Placement of Fill in Navigable Waters – Direct or indirect placement or excavation of fill in navigable waters of the state that are inundated at mean high water or mean high tide.

protectionofwaters

Coastal Erosion Hazard Area Permit

A Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) permit is required if activities near the shoreline are likely to impact one of two types of coastal erosion hazard areas:

CEHA Natural Protective Feature Areas (NPFA)

These are areas that contain the following natural features:

  • Beaches
  • Dunes
  • Bluffs
  • Nearshore areas

NPFAs protect natural habitats, infrastructure, structures, and human life from wind and water erosion, along with storm-induced high water. Human activities, such as the development or modification of beaches, dunes, or bluffs, may decrease or completely remove the erosion buffering function of natural protective features.

CEHA Structural Hazard

These are lands located landward of natural protective feature areas and have shoreline receding at a long-term average annual recession rate of one foot or more per year. Development within structural hazard areas is limited by regulation to reduce the risk to people and property from coastal erosion and flood damage.

Note: all actions that require a CEHA permit are presumed to be a SEQRA type 1 action

Where regulations apply

Due to the nature of the water’s edge, CEHA areas are constantly changing. Currently, CEHA areas exist in the following boroughs of New York City.

ceha

Water Quality Certification

Water Quality Certification is required for:

Placing fill or undertaking activities resulting in a discharge to what the Army Corps refers to as Waters of the United States and where a permit is required from the Army Corps under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Some examples of activities requiring a Water Quality Certification are:

  • Activities that involve placement of dredged or fill materials in coastal or navigable waters
  • Temporary discharges of decant waters from dredge material disposal sites or from barges and vessels
  • Construction and operation of hydroelectric or major transmission facilities licensed by the federal government

Related Permits