Inland Lakes and Streams Permit (Part 301)

Agency: Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

The Water Resources Division (WRD), within the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), is responsible for protecting the natural resources and the public trust waters of Michigan's inland lakes and streams under the authority of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA). The program oversees activities including dredging, filling, constructing or placing a structure on bottomlands, constructing, reconfiguring, or expanding a marina, interfering with natural flow of water or connecting a ditch or canal to an inland lake or stream. The MDEQ also administers the federal permit program which regulates the dredging or filling of inland lakes and streams under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (except in coastal areas where the United States Army Corps of Engineers retains this authority). Thus, in most parts of the state, issuance of a construction permit by the MDEQ under Part 301 of the NREPA also authorizes this type of activity under federal law


Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams Permit


Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Public Act 451 of 1994, as amended

Federal Clean Water Act, Section 404


Inland Lakes and Streams (R 281.811 - 281.846)


 1.  Applicability (activities that require the permit)

Part 301 covers inland lakes and streams, meaning any natural or artificial lake, pond, impoundment, river, stream, or creek, or any other body of water that has definite banks, a bed, and visible evidence of a continued flow or continued occurrence of water, including the St. Marys, St. Clair, and Detroit rivers. Inland lake or stream does not include the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, or a lake or pond that has a surface area of less than 5 acres. A permit is required under this act to

  • Dredge or fill bottomlands
  • Construct, enlarge, extend, remove, or place structures on bottomlands
  • Construct, reconfigure, or expand a marina
  • Create, enlarge, or diminish an inland lake or stream
  • Structural interfere with the natural flow of an inland lake or stream
  • Construct or enlarge an artificial channel, pond, or similar waterway where the purpose is the connection with an existing inland lake or stream, or where any part of the artificial waterway is located within 500 feet of the ordinary high water mark of an existing inland lake or stream
  • Connect any natural or artificially constructed waterway, pond or lake with an existing inland lake or stream for any purpose

If projects also require approval under other parts of the NREPA administered by the WRD, only one permit application is required. The permit review will include a review under all applicable parts. These parts include: Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams; Part 303, Wetlands Protection; Part 325, Great Lakes Submerged Lakes, the Administrative Rules for Floodplains and Floodways under Part 31, Water Resources Protection; Part 323, Shorelands Protection and Management; and Part 353, Sand Dunes Protection and Management.

 2.  Pre-Application Requirements
  • Optional pre-application meetings are available for a fee. Learn more on the Preapplication Meeting website
  • Public notices are sent to the County Health Department, County Soil Conservation Service District, County, Township or City Clerk's Office, and other affected divisions and agencies for comment. Copies of the application are provided to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in those areas where a separate USACE permit is required
  • Major projects may be reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the USACE
  • The proposed project may not adversely affect the public trust or riparian rights
  • The MDEQ must consider the possible effects of the project on waters and uses of such waters including recreation, fish and wildlife, aesthetics, local government, agriculture, and industry
  • To be approved, the project must also be in compliance with the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act
  • A site inspection may be required
 3.  Application Submission Requirements
  • Application fee
  • Vicinity map detailing the project's location in relation to existing land marks
  • Cross-section plan view of the project site with elevations depicting existing and proposed land conditions
  • Approximate cubic yardage of fill or dredge material
  • Project plans represented by a complete, accurate drawing including dimensions, proposed and existing structures, existing lake or stream conditions, etc.
  • Demonstration that the project will not adversely affect the public trust or riparian rights and that the project will not unlawfully impair or destroy any of the waters or other natural resources of the state
  • Other materials specific to the project that may be specified during review
  • Failure to provide the above information and the filing fee will result in non-action on the application until the material is provided
 4.  Procedures and Time-Frame for Obtaining Permit or Approval
  • Applicant submits complete application (EQP 2731) to the WRD with appropriate fee
  • A maximum application review period of 60 days is provided by Part 301 of the NREPA if the application is complete and no hearing is held
  • During a comment period of 20 days from the issuance of the public notice, an interested person may request a public hearing on the application
  • If a hearing is held, the MDEQ has 120 days to make a decision on the application
  • The permit is currently valid for up to 5 years
  • After completion of the project, a final inspection may be made by MDEQ to certify that the applicant has complied with the permit requirements
  • Issued permits are normally valid for up to 5 years
  • A permit processing flowchart is available
 5.  Operational Requirements

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

 6.  Fees
  • Fees are listed in Appendix C of the Joint Permit Application
  • $50 to $2,000
 7.  Appeal Process
  • If an application is denied for a proposed activity, the landowner may appeal the decision to the MDEQ 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)
 8.  Public Input Opportunities

The decision makers in this program are district staff. However, in rare cases a Deputy Director or the WRD Division Chief will issue the permit. 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 district 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. Projects that meet the Minor and General permit categories are not required to go through the public notice process.


Water Resources Division, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 30204, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7704

  • Program Phone: 517-284-5530


Creation/Revision Date:

June 2016