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Great Lakes Submerged Lands Construction Permits

The Mackinac Bridge stretching over the Straits of Mackinac, a cloudy sky above
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Great Lakes Submerged Lands Construction Permits


Information on specific sites:
District Permit Staff

The Submerged Lands Program regulates construction activities along the entirety of Michigan’s 3288 miles of Great Lakes Shoreline and the over 38,000 square miles of Great Lakes Bottomlands within the state’s border’s. The state’s bottomlands include deep water areas, sandy shallows, and coastal wetlands.

A permit from EGLE is required for construction activities on the Great Lakes Bottomlands under the authority of Part 325, Great Lakes Submerged Lands, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA) and the Administrative Rules of Part 325.  The law and rules require EGLE to ensure that a project will have a no more than minimal impact on the public trust, adjacent riparian property owners, and the environment prior to issuing a permit.

Begin the permit process


What requires a permit?

Permits are required for construction activities such as filling, dredging, and placement of structures such as docks, boat lifts, or seawalls on all of Michigan's Great Lakes Bottomlands below the statutory Ordinary High-Water Mark (OHWM).  The statutory OHWM may change over time as beaches accrete and erode. Projects located above the OHWM may require permits under other statutes. Contact the EGLE Staff for your county if you are unsure if your project requires a permit.  Projects on the Great Lakes that require an EGLE permit also require a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Apply for a permit

Applications for permits are submitted through MiEnviro Portal. Once the application is submitted, it is automatically sent to the USACE and there is no need to fill out an additional application.  More information about the application process is available at EGLE/USACE Joint Permit Application. Once a permit application is received, EGLE staff review the application and visit the project site to assess the proposed impacts to the public trust, adjacent property owners, and the environment. The status of the permit application may be tracked at MiEnviro Portal.

Every application must include a completed online form, property owner authorization, project location, site plans and cross sections, and evaluation of project alternatives and purpose, and the application processing fee.  There are three categories of permits that can be applied for. General Permits and Minor Project categories include common projects with minimal impacts. Larger projects may require an Individual Permit. Permit Fees depend on the project type and category of permit. 

Submit your permit application in MiEnviro Portal
Event Schedule

Application Process

Some projects may require additional information for EGLE review. EGLE staff will communicate to you when the information is needed. Projects that include a long-term occupation and use of Great Lakes Bottomlands may also require a Conveyance.

Submitted Applications for permit enter a 30-day completeness period. During that time your application is reviewed to ensure the required information for a complete application has been submitted, including whether or not a conveyance is required. If the application is not complete, EGLE staff will put your application on hold and request information from you. Once the application is complete, the processing period begins. The processing period is a maximum of 90 to 150 days depending on the permit category and whether or not a public hearing is held. General and Minor Project permits typically have faster processing times. Individual permits may take longer and require a public notice period.