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Sand (Critical) Dunes Protection and Management Permit (Part 353)

The Water Resources Division (WRD), within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), is responsible for regulating uses including construction activities, silvicultural activities, and contour changes within critical dune areas designated under Part 353, Sand Dunes Protection and Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), 1994 PA 451, as amended. The law strives to balance for future and present generations the benefits of protecting, preserving, restoring, and enhancing the diversity, quality, functions, and values of the state's critical dunes with the benefits of economic development and multiple human uses of the critical dunes. Submitted applications and permits are available for viewing online using MiWaters Site Explorer. Additional program information is available online at


Critical Dune Area (CDA) Permit


Part 353, Sand Dunes Protection and Management,of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Public Act 451 of 1994, as amended


Regulated under Part 353, no specific applicable rules.


1.  Applicability (activities that require the permit)

A permit is required for those uses which are a developmental, silvicultural, or recreational activity done or caused to be done by a person that significantly alters the physical characteristic of a critical dune area or a contour change done or caused to be done by a person. Use does not include sand dune mining as defined in Part 637 of NREPA.

A list of common uses or activities requiring a permit is available at - Permits.

A permit is not required for some uses meeting specific criteria as listed in division policy WRD-008 “Part 353 Activities Not Constituting a Use”.

2.  Pre-Application Requirements

Permits are processed jointly for proposals where critical dune areas regulated under Part 353 overlap with high risk erosion areas regulated under Part 323 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451.

Determine if the parcel of property is regulated by viewing the maps available online at or in MiWaters. If there is a question as to whether or not the parcel is in a CDA applicants should contact local EGLE dune staff for assistance.

A CDA parcel may also be in a High Risk Erosion Area (HREA) and require a permit under Part 323, Shorelands Protection and Management, of NREPA. Both permits can be applied for on one application.

An optional pre-application meeting service is available to applicants.

A permit is required for any of the proposed activities unless the local government has an approved ordinance, in which case the review is handled locally.

3.  Application Submission Requirements
  • Joint permit application (JPA) submitted through MiWaters with detailed directions to the building site, authorizations, required drawings and fee
  • The CDA Section of the JPA must be completed including the date the project will be staked
  • Only landowners or authorized agents may file an application for permit
  • Permits/waivers/assurances as requested in the CDA section of the JPA
  • Detailed drawings including an overhead site plan and cross-sections. Application drawings are at - Permits
    Application fee listed at - Permits
  • Applicant may be required to submit other information on request
4.  Procedures and Time-Frame for Obtaining Permit or Approval
5.  Operational Requirements

Applicant must comply with all applicable rules and regulations and any stipulations set forth in the permit.

6.  Fees
7.  Appeal Process
  • If an application is denied for a proposed activity, the landowner may appeal the decision within 60 days to the EGLE Director by 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 Hearings Website
8.  Public Input Opportunities

The decision makers in this program are local WRD district staff. Substantial or unresolved issues may be reviewed by the EGLE deputy directory or the WRD division director.  Comments on proposed projects in a CDA should be made directly to staff reviewing the application.  A record of applications received, and WRD staff assigned to each application, is available in MiWaters. This online system allows queries by address, file number, or applicant name.  If an application requires public notification interested persons can provide their input during the 20 day public review and comment period. If a hearing is requested, then all previously notified groups and individuals are notified at least ten days prior to the hearing.


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

Revision Date: July 2019