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Land and Water Management Division. Michigan is the only state surrounded by 4 of the 5 Great Lakes. Michigan has 3.28 miles of great lakes shoreline The worlds largest freshwater lakes 90 % of the country’s fresh surface water About 20% of the world’s fresh surface water

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Land and Water Management Division

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Land and water management division

Land and Water Management


Michigan is the only state surrounded by 4 of the 5 great lakes

Michigan is the only state surrounded by 4 of the 5 Great Lakes

  • Michigan has 3.28 miles of great lakes shoreline

  • The worlds largest freshwater lakes

  • 90 % of the country’s fresh surface water

  • About 20% of the world’s fresh surface water

  • Vital national resource utilized for manufacturing, shipping, drinking, recreation and tourism

  • Over 10,000 inland lakes and ponds

  • 35.000 miles of freshwater rivers, streams and wetland interwoven with the inland lakes and ponds

Land and water management division

“The conservation and development of the natural resources of the state are hereby declared to be paramount public concern in the interest of the health, safety and general welfare of the people. The legislature shall provide for the protection of the air, water and other natural resources of the state from pollution, impairment and destruction.”

Mich. Constitution, Art IV, §52

Working together to protect resources

Working Together to Protect Resources

  • Natural Heritage: endangered/threatened species

  • State Office of Historical Preservation

  • Other DEQ Divisions

  • DNR/Fisheries

  • DNR/Wildlife

  • DNR/Natural Rivers

  • DNR/Parks and Recreation

  • Local Governments

  • Federal Government: USACE, EPA, USFWS

Land water regulations

Land/Water Regulations

  • Part 301 Inland Lakes and Streams

  • Part 303 Wetland Protection

  • Part 315 Dam Safety

  • Part 323 Shoreland Protection and Mgt.

  • Part 325 Great Lakes Submerged Lands

  • Part 353 Sand Dune Protection and Mgt.

  • Part 31 Water Resources Protection: Floodplains

Riparian rights

Riparian Rights

  • The courts have held that all riparian owners share an equal right to reasonable use of the entire surface area of the lake

  • build docks

  • make other improvements to facilitate the use of their property insofar as such improvements do not encroach upon the rights of other owners

Common activities requiring permits

Common Activities Requiring Permits


Excavation and/or dredging


Shoreline protection

Docks, piers, mooring piles

Boat well

Boat launch

Boat hoist

Boardwalks & Decks

Intake and Outlet Pipes

Mooring and Navigation Buoys



And Many Many More!!!!!

Part 301 inland lakes and streams

Part 301 Inland Lakes and Streams

  • Natural or artificial lake or pond over 5 acres

  • Natural or artificial impoundment

  • River

  • Stream

  • Creek

  • Drain

  • Intermittent stream

  • Other

Activities within an inland lake or stream OR construction of a pond within 500’ of water body or connected to a water body

Part 303 wetland protection

Part 303, Wetland Protection

Any change to existing conditions is an impact and needs a permit unless explicitly exempt per 324.30305

  • Contiguous to Great Lakes & Lake St. Clair, or inland lake, pond, river, or stream

  • W/in 500’ of an inland lake or stream or 1,000’ of the Great Lakes and Lk. St Clair

  • > 5 acres, in counties w/ population over 100,000 & inventoried smaller counties

  • < 5 acres if department determines essential to protect the area

Wetland assessment program

Wetland Assessment Program

  • Not required

  • Level 1

    • in house map search

    • $50

  • Level 2

    • conservative evaluation

    • Will flag upland

    • $200 minimum

  • Level 3

    • confirm consultants delineation

    • $150 minimum

Part 91 soil erosion and sedimentation control

Part 91, Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control

  • Earth change 1 acre or more or

  • Within 500 feet of an inland lake or stream

  • Delegated to County and/or local municipality


  • Separate permit for construction activities

What do we look for some factors in evaluating environmental impacts

What do we look for?Some factors in evaluating environmental impacts:

  • What is the purpose?

  • Is there a need?

  • Is there a less impactive alternative?

  • Will the timing of the activities effect spawning?

  • What are the seasonal water level changes?

Purpose achieve your riparian rights

Purpose : Achieve your riparian rights

  • Dock : to dock YOUR boat, access to navigable waters

  • Dredge : for navigation/dockage

  • Beach : bathing

  • Shore protection : to protect your existing shoreline

Land and water management division


  • Dock : Own a boat? How many? What length is needed to reach navigable waters?

  • Dredge : Is it needed for navigation or will a dock achieve the same purpose?

  • Shore protection : Is there erosion? How severe is the erosion?

Example no need for shore protection

Example : No need for shore protection

Example no need for a shoreline protection

Example : No need for a shoreline protection

Example need a shore protection

Example : Need a shore protection

Example need shore protection

Example : Need shore protection



  • Dock – will it block navigation? Will it be within riparian interest?

  • Dredge –Fish, shallow water habitat, suspended sediments

  • Shore protection – fish, shallow water habitat

Example lessen the impact

Example : Lessen the impact

Place seawall as close as possible to existing shoreline and minimize backfill

Riprap placed as mitigation and wildlife access ramp

Seawall: too far into lake waterward of shoreline

Seawall: adjacent to shoreline



Riprap and wildlife access ramp


Land and water management division








Minimized Impact Alternative


If impact more than 1/3 acre of wetland, mitigation is required

Higher impact area

Higher Impact Area

Lower impact area

Lower Impact Area

Filling out the application

Filling out the application


Www michigan gov jointpermit

Seven pages you ve got to be kidding

Seven Pages!You’ve Got To Be Kidding

No kidding…wait until you see the manual!!!!

Land and water management division


Joint Permit Application

Training Manual

Jennifer M. Granholm, Governor

Steven E. Chester, Director

(800) 662-9278

Can download manual or hard copy available for purchase

What is really needed

What is really needed….

  • Page one, two and three for every application plus any of the other pages that may apply to your project

  • Plan view (birds-eye view)

  • Cross-section of each proposed item (i.e. one for the dock and one for the seawall.)

  • Letter of authorization if applicant is not the homeowner/property owner

  • Photos that clearly depict site conditions

  • Vicinity Map

Project site plan view

Project Site Plan View

  • Property lines

    • Extend out into water if proposing activities in the water

    • adjacent neighbors address and existing structures

    • Distance from proposed to property lines

  • Existing and proposed on same plan:

    • Water bodies

    • Wetland boundaries

    • Floodplain boundaries

    • Structures

  • Water’s edge:

    • ordinary high water mark

    • Current shoreline

  • Dimensions or a scale


  • Use multiple sheets rather than crowd everything on one sheet

  • North Arrow

  • Property owners name

Section views

Section Views

Types of section views:

Cross section, typical or end view

Profile or length wise view

The term “cross section” may apply to any of the above

A typical refers to a drawing that is the same for the whole project

a cross section is for a specific area should be labled and shown where on the plan view the cross section is taken

End view would like looking at the end of a dock from the water

Existing and proposed grades

Water level and date observed or measured or OHWM

Existing and proposed structures

Boundary line for wetlands and/or floodplains

Dimensions and distances OR a scale

Letter of authorization

Letter of Authorization

  • If the applicant is not the sole owner or if the property owner did not sign the application, a letter of authorization is needed from the property owner(s).

    • statement approving a specific person or company to submit a permit application on behalf of the property owner(s), the property address and a brief description of the project.

Vicinity map

Vicinity Map

  • Give written directions from major intersection or express way

  • Make a detailed map of the area designating the site with an arrow

    Needs to show all the streets and/or roads traveled from a major highway and/or cross-road to the project site.

    If the project site is in a rural area, provide directions from a town that appears on a state road map



  • Not required but may eliminate the need for a site inspection by staff

  • Take photos that clearly depict site condition

  • Label photos with date taken and location

  • Take photos from each side of project, from the shoreline looking waterward and waterward looking toward shore

  • Show existing structures on site and adjacent properties

Examples of what triggers a correction request or request for additional information

Examples of what triggers a correction request or request for additional information

  • Filling fee not paid or not correct

  • Application not signed

  • Missing information

    • Application form and/or drawings

    • Authorization letter(s)

    • Dimensions, volumes

    • Drawings

  • Mismatched information

    • Within a section

    • Between sections and/or application and drawings

      • 10A and 12

      • 10B and 12

Standard processing

Standard Processing

  • All application forms are mailed to Permit Consolidation Unit (PCU) in Lansing.

  • PCU reviews the applications to make sure they are administratively complete.

  • Once the file is complete PCU sends it to the District Office from PCU.

  • PCU does not take an action on files



  • Staff has 30 days to get information to make a file complete. That 30 day clocks stops and starts when correction requests are sent out and the information requested is received.

  • After the initial 30 days for completion staff has 60 day for 301 and 90 days for 325 to make a final decision on the file. If the file is not complete at this time it will have be denied without prejudice.

  • Public Notice projects require decisions to be held a minimum of 20 days for public and up to 45 days for local governments and other agencies to provide comments.

Tracking your application

Tracking Your Application


    (this is a new direct link)



    • “Water”

      • “MDEQ/USACE Joint Permit Application”

        • “CIWPIS On-line”

Additional assistance

Additional Assistance

  • Contact the district office for the project area

    • see Land/Water Interface map in Appendix H

  • If you get someone’s voice mail, please leave a detailed message so that staff are better prepared to assist you when they call back

  • Call PCU direct at 1-517-373-9244

  • Call 1-800-662-9278 and ask for LWMD PCU

  • E-mail LWMD PCU



      • “Water,” “MDEQ/USACE Joint Permit Application,” “Frequently Asked Questions”

Suggestions and comments

Suggestions and Comments

  • PLAN AHEAD!! If you want to do your project in the fall, submit your application in the Spring- don’t wait until the last minute!

  • If you avoid any impacts to the resource, then you MAY not need to involve LWMD at all!

If have questions contact us

If have questions – contact us

  • Phone:

    • Program District Staff – 586-753-3700

    • 1-517-373-9244 direct to Permit Consolidation Unit

    • 1-800-662-9278 ask for Land and Water Management Division, Permit Consolidation Unit


    • 1-517-241-9003 PCU

    • 1-586-751-4690 SE MI District

    • E-Mail PCU:


    • www.michigan/jointpermit

      • Frequently Asked Questions

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