Frequently Asked Questions

Contact: For additional information, please contact your local district office.

1. What can I use as a time guide in planning and scheduling my project? 

Generally it will take from 30 to 90 days from the time we receive a complete application until a decision is made on your permit. Other factors include: 

  • The size and complexity of your project. 
  • The number of corrections and additional information that are required for your original application to be administratively complete. 
  • If the project requires a Public Notice or a Public Hearing. 
  • The season of the year, with spring and summer being the busiest. 
  • Correct application fee paid by check made out to the State of Michigan or by credit card within MiWaters.  Refer to Permit Application Payment Options.

2. Where should I send my permit application? 

Note:  The DEQ's Water Resources Division has transitioned to MiWaters, our new web-based permitting and compliance database.  As of 8/17/15, you can enter basic information (applicant and agent, project location and description) in MiWaters and attach a scanned copy of the regular JPA paper form along with any other attachments associated with the application.  You will be be able to pay application fees online using MiWaters.

Paper permit applications that are not submitted via MiWaters should be sent to the district office where the project will take place.  Applications that cross district boundaries should be sent to the district containing the primary work effort.

Permit applications for projects regulated under Part 315, Dam Safety should be mailed to the Hydrologic Studies and Dam Safety Unit (HSDSU) and public transportation projects should be mailed to the Transportation Review Unit (TRU) at:

MDEQ - Water Resources Division
P.O. Box 30458
Lansing, MI 48909-7958

3. How can I know if my application has been received and is being processed? 

The DEQ's Water Resources Division has transitioned to MiWaters, our new web-based permitting and compliance database.  MiWaters replaces CIWPIS and can be used to check the status of your application.

4. How soon will WRD staff begin working on my application? 

Application processing begins when the application is received.  Typically, review for administrative completeness begins within 0 to 14 days of receipt.  The completeness review time ranges from 0 to 45 days, depending on how complete the application is when submitted, and the need for additional information, clarification, or fees.  Once the necessary information is received, the application is processed as expeditiously as possible.  Some projects may be posted for a 20-45 day public notice period.

5. What items must be submitted with an application so it can be determined "complete" as submitted, without requiring additional information? 

  • Check all the items on the review list at the top of the application.  Be sure to use the most current application, available on line at www.michigan.gov/jointpermit
  • Fully complete all of Sections 1 through 9.  Fully complete the specific sections 10-21 that relate to your project. 
  • Certify the application with a Signature, signed by the owner of the property, agent or corporation.  NOTE: A letter of authorization from the owner must be included if someone other than the property owner signs the application. 
  • Provide the correct application fee determined from the WRD fee schedule, available in Appendix C of the application.  Payment may be made by check, payable to the State of Michigan, or by credit card using MiWaters.  Refer to Permit Application Payment Options.
  • Provide a clear and legible vicinity map and directions to the proposed site; include the closest main roads.  Aerial photos may be provided in addition to a map to provide further clarification of the location. 
  • Provide photographs of the proposed work site to assist staff in their review. 
  • Provide a site plan that shows all of the work proposed within the boundaries of your parcel; the dimensions of structures and the volumes of excavation (dredge) and fill; wetland, floodplain boundaries or ordinary high water mark and current water mark; and the type of materials that will be used. 
  • Provide cross sections of the existing and proposed work with dimensions and volumes of excavation (dredge) and fill. 
  • Make sure that all data provided on the application correspond with attached diagrams and plans. 
  • Provide information about any previous work done on the parcel with or without a permit. 

6. Why and when would I receive a letter that requests more information? 

If during the application review process your application is determined to be incomplete, you will be contacted by phone, email or letter requesting clarification, amplification, or correction of the application or additional fees, if necessary.  More information may be required if the additional information provided is unclear inconsistent, or incomplete. You have a maximum of 30 days to provide all requested information to make the file complete, or the file will be closed due to administrative incompleteness.  Fees are not refundable. In some instances extension requests are available and you will be notified if this is the case. 

7. Once complete, how will my file be processed? 

Technical review time usually ranges from 1 to 90 days.  Processing times may be longer if a public notice is required or if a public hearing is held.  Staff will begin the technical review and conduct a site inspection once the application is determined to be administratively complete.  During the field inspection staff may determine that the application does not fully represent the proposed project and may contact you for additional information prior to making a permit decision.  Decision extension requests are available, if requested by the applicant.

8. What if a federal permit is also required? 

If the proposed activity is in Section 10 Waters (Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, large navigable waters) a copy of the permit application will be sent to the Detroit District Office, US Army Corps of Engineers for processing at the federal level at the time staff determined it to be administratively complete. (www.lre.usace.army.mil/ or call 313-226-2218). Outside of Section 10 Waters, if the permit application requires federal review due to impact, it will be sent to the US Environmental Protection Agency for comment. 

9. Is there other information available to assist me in putting together a complete application? 

Guidance and information is available on line at www.michigan.gov/jointpermit.  For simple, minor projects there is a series of EZ Guides to help you fill out the application and provide appropriate diagrams.  Additionally, pre-application meetings are available.  A request form is available or you may call your district office to make arrangements. 

Additional Questions? 

If you have any questions about the permitting process or if you need to modify your application, please contact the appropriate district office.