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Shorelands Protection and Management Permit - High Risk Erosion Areas (HREA) (Part 323)

Shorelands Protection and Management Permit (Part 323)

The Water Resources Division (WRD), within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), is responsible for reviewing projects to construct permanent structures, additions, and waste-handling facilities, including septic systems, in designated high risk erosion areas (HREA) along the shorelines of the Great Lakes. This authority resides under Part 323, Shorelands Protection and Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA). The law was enacted to provide consumer protection by ensuring structures are set back from eroding shorelines and so reducing structure losses from erosion. Submitted applications and permits are available for viewing online using MiWaters Site Explorer. Additional information is available online at


Permit for Construction in a High Risk Erosion Area


Part 323, Shorelands Protection and Management, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Public Act 451 of 1994, as amended, NREPA


Michigan Administrative Code, Rules Administered by EGLE, WRD

Shorelands Protection and Management (R 281.21 - 281.22)


1. Applicability (activities that require the permit)

A permit is required to erect, install, move, or enlarge a permanent structure on a parcel of property, any portion of which is designated as a high risk erosion area. Examples of projects requiring a permit include the following:

  • A residential building including mobile homes
  • A commercial or industrial building
  • Additions to existing buildings
  • Accessory and related buildings
  • Building relocation
  • A swimming pool or deck that has a roof or walls
  • Septic systems, tile fields and other waste-handling facilities

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

A permit is not required for a separate structure of less than 225 square feet without a permanent foundation, that is easily moved and is not a residence.

2. Pre-Application Requirements

Determine if the parcel of property is regulated by going to to view maps and lists of regulated parcels by tax or parcel identification number. In MiWaters, turn on the HREA zone layer for the location.

The High Risk Erosion Area (HREA) designation runs with the land including subsequent splits. Absence of a tax or parcel identification number on a list does not guarantee the property is located outside of an HREA. If there is a question as whether or not the parcel is in a HREA applicants should contact local WRD staff for assistance.

A HREA designated parcel may also be in a Critical Dune Area (CDA) and will also require a permit under Part 353, Sand Dunes Protection and Management, of NREPA. Both permits can be applied for on one application.

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 HREA Section of the JPA must be completed including the date the project will be staked
  • Only land owners or authorized agents may file an application for permit
  • Detailed drawings including an overhead site plan and cross-sections. Examples 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

  • $50 - $500
  • Fee schedule
  • Fees are added together for a project in a critical dune area and high risk erosion area.

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 an HREA 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: December 2019