Local Wetland Regulations

Contact: Amy Berry

In accordance with Part 303, Wetlands Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, 1994 PA 451, as amended, a local unit of government can regulate wetlands by ordinance, in addition to state regulation, if certain criteria are met. These criteria include:

  • A wetland ordinance cannot require a permit for activities exempted from regulation under Part 303.
  • A wetland ordinance must use the same wetland definition as in Part 303.
  • Local units of government must publish a wetland inventory before adopting a wetland ordinance.
  • Local units of government that adopt wetland ordinances must notify the DEQ.

Wetlands less than 5 acres can be regulated by local governments. If a local government wishes to regulate a wetland less than 2 acres in size, the local government must grant a permit unless it is determined that the wetland is essential to the preservation of the community's natural resources.

In areas where a local wetland permit is required, a permit must also be received from the State of Michigan before beginning the activity. For more information on the requirements for local wetland regulations, please refer to Sections 30307, 30308, 30309, 30310, and 30317 of  Part 303.

Local Governments which have notified DEQ of their wetland ordinance

Developing Local Wetland Regulations

Local wetland protection can take many forms, from some communities that integrate wetland protection provisions into their site plan review process to other communities that maintain comprehensive stand-alone ordinances.  The following documents have been developed to assist those interested in options for local government protection of wetlands.

Protecting Michigan's Wetlands: A Guide for Local Governments

Protecting Your Community's Wetlands: Local Wetland Ordinances

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Local Wetland Ordinances

Sample Local Wetland Ordinance