EGLE to ease permitting process for sandbags as temporary measure against shoreline erosion
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 15, 2019
Nick Assendelft, EGLE Public Information Officer, AssendelftN@Michigan.gov
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy today announced a new Minor Project category that will make it easier for lakeshore property owners to get a permit for the temporary use of sandbags as immediate stabilization measures to protect homes and other critical infrastructure.
The Minor Project category will provide for faster permit processing for homeowners and a reduced permit fee of $100. Under the new category, a public notice will not be necessary for stabilization projects meeting review requirements.
EGLE emphasizes that sandbags are not a permanent solution to erosion problems and the bags eventually must be removed. Property owners should work with a contractor to design a more permanent solution, such as boulders, riprap, or even moving homes and other infrastructure farther inland.
Property owners who seek to take measures to protect their property from record high water levels still need to file a permit application through EGLE’s MiWaters portal. EGLE is expediting permits where there is a risk to structures, human health, and safety. In many cases, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also needs to review the permit application, which is filed jointly through MiWaters.
Since Oct. 1, EGLE has issued more than 100 shoreline protection permits across the state. Of these, 60 percent were issued within three days of receiving a completed application. Between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, EGLE issued 730 permits for Great Lakes projects, some of which were non-emergencies. Fifty percent of the 730 permits were issued within 30 days of receiving an application and 21 percent were issued within 10 days.
In October, EGLE announced it would expedite permit applications to protect homes or structures that are in danger due to record high water levels. Permits can be approved within days of a completed application being filed, when under normal circumstances the process takes 60-90 days. The shoreline permitting process ensures a balance between protecting property and freshwater dunes and shorelines.
EGLE has made a number of resources available for shoreline property owners:
- A new website – Michigan.gov/HighWater – where property owners can search for the latest information, find links to helpful topics, begin the permitting process, and search a list of contractors.
- Added staffing to take calls through the Environmental Assistance Center -- 800-662-9278 –between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and answer inquiries at EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov.
- Increased overtime for field staff to quickly process shoreline permits.
- A webinar that explains the reasons behind high waters and shoreline erosion, and EGLE’s rule and permit changes.
- Go to Michigan.gov/MiWaters to begin the permitting process and find related links.
To stay up to date on other EGLE news, follow us at Michigan.gov/MIEnvironment.
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