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Dam Safety (Repairs/Construction) Permit

The Water Resources Division (WRD), within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), has responsibility to review construction activities on dams under the provisions of Part 315, Dam Safety (formerly Public Act 300 of 1989, as amended), of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA). The purpose of this permit is to assure that dams are built, repaired, enlarged, removed, altered, or abandoned in a manner that the resultant structure will have no significant adverse impact on the public health, safety, welfare, property, natural resources, or public trust in those natural resources.


Dam Safety Permit


Part 315, Dam Safety, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Public Act 451 of 1994, as amended


Michigan Administrative Code, Rules Administered by EGLE, WRD

Dam Safety (R 281.1301 - 281.1313)


1. Applicability (activities that require the permit)

Any construction, repair, enlargement, removal, alteration, or abandonment of a regulated dam.

2. Pre-Application Requirements
  • No construction, reconstruction, repair, alteration, abandonment, or removal of the dam may begin until the permit is issued
  • Permits are issued for a period of time not exceeding two years and may be renewed, if appropriate
3. Application Submission Requirements

For construction, enlarging, or reconstruction:

  • A description and evaluation of the loss of natural resources that is associated with the project
  • A description of the natural resources that are associated with or created by the impoundment and how they offset the natural resources lost by the creation of the impoundment
  • A project impact assessment
  • Conceptual plans with initial application
  • Activities which require a permit under Part 301 ( Inland Lakes and Streams), Part 31 (Floodplains), or Part 303 (Wetlands Protection) of the NREPA do not require separate permits
  • Submission of detailed engineering plans, Part 315 permit fee, and specifications for EGLE review and approval will be required as a condition of the permit

For dam removal or abandonment

  • A site plan
  • A description of the method to be employed in removing or abandoning the dam
  • An evaluation of the capacity of the remaining structure to pass flood flows after the proposed work is completed
  • An evaluation of the quantity and quality characteristics of the sediments that have accumulated in the dam impoundment
  • A description of the methods to be employed to control sediments during and after removing or abandoning the dam
  • A project impact assessment

For dam repair:

  • A description of the proposed work, including the volumes of materials to be dredged or filled
  • Engineering plans and specifications for the proposed work
4. Procedures and Time-Frame for Obtaining Permit or Approval
  • Applicant submits application (EQP 2731) and fee to WRD
  • EGLE sends copies of the application for comment to the community in which the proposed project is located, to adjacent riparian owners and to the appropriate watershed council (This step is not required if the application is for a "minor project" as defined in the statute.)
  • A public hearing may be held at the request of the applicant, riparian owners, or the local unit of government
  • Permits must be issued or the application denied within 60 days of the receipt of a complete application (120 days if a public hearing is held)
5. Operational Requirements
  • Applicant must comply with all applicable rules and regulations and stipulations set forth in the permit
  • Site inspections are made by EGLE staff to determine if the project is completed in accordance with approved plans and specifications
6. Fees

$100 to $3,000, depending on the size of the dam and the nature of the project

7. Appeal Process

If an application is denied for a proposed activity, the landowner may appeal the decision to the EGLE Director requesting a contested case hearing pursuant to the State Administrative Procedures Act, Public Act 306 of 1969, as amended (a decision from this process can be appealed to the courts).

Information regarding contested case hearings can be obtained from the Administrative Procedures Website.

8. Public Input Opportunities

The decision makers in this program are staff of the Hydrologic Studies and Dam Safety Unit (HSDSU). Substantial or unresolved issues may be reviewed by the EGLE deputy directory or the WRD division director. The WRD has many mechanisms for public notice of pending permit decisions. A record of applications received is available on an online searchable permitting and compliance system called MiWaters. This online system allows queries related to public hearings, public notices, year, county, township, range, section, water body, file number or applicant name. The WRD HSDSU contact can be found through MiWaters. The best opportunity for public input is during the 20 day public review and comment period. If the proposed project impacts regulated wetlands under the jurisdiction of Part 303 then the local units of government (village, city, township or county) have 45 days to submit comment. If a hearing is requested, then all previously notified groups and individuals are notified by mail at least 10 days prior to the hearing.


EGLE Water Resources Division, P.O. Box 30458, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7958

  • Program Phone: 517-256-4458


Creation/Revision Date:

July 2019