The Water Resources Division (WRD), within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is responsible for the protection of wetland resources and the public functions they provide under the authority of Part 303, Wetlands Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA). The program oversees activities proposed in regulated wetland areas and reviews permit applications for dredging; filling; draining surface water; or constructing, operating, or maintaining any use or development in a wetland. EGLE also administers the federal permit program which regulates dredging and filling of wetlands under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (except in coastal areas where the USACE retains this authority). Thus, in most parts of the state, issuance of a permit by EGLE under Part 303 of the NREPA also authorizes alteration of wetlands under federal law.
A General Permit for Shoreline Management activities is available for some activities. See the program description
A. NAME OF PERMIT OR APPROVAL:
Part 303 Wetlands Protection Permit
B. STATUTORY AUTHORITY:
Part 303, Wetlands Protection, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Public Act 451 of 1994, as amended
Federal Clean Water Act, Section 404
C. APPLICABLE REGULATION:
D. SUMMARY OF PERMIT/APPROVAL PROCESS:
Part 303 defines a wetland as "land characterized by the presence of water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances does support, wetland vegetation or aquatic life, and is commonly referred to as a bog, swamp, or marsh." The definition applies to public and private lands regardless of zoning or ownership. In accordance with Part 303, wetlands are regulated if they are any of the following
The law requires that persons planning to conduct certain activities in regulated wetlands apply for and receive a permit from the state before beginning the activity. A permit is required from the state for the following
EGLE must determine the following before a permit can be issued
In order to be approved, a project must also meet the requirements of Section 404 of the Federal Clean Water Act. EGLE may not issue a permit granting federal authority over the objection of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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.
Failure to provide the above information and the filing fee will result in non-action on the application until the material is provided.
Applicant must comply with all applicable rules and regulations and any conditions required by the permit.
The decision makers in this program are district staff. 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 district contact can be found through MiWaters. The best opportunity for public input is during the 20 day public review and comment period. The local units of government (village, city, township or county) have 45 days to submit comment. If a hearing is requested, all previously notified groups and individuals are notified by mail at least 10 days prior to the hearing. Projects that meet the General Permit Categories are not required to go through the public notice process.
E. ADMINISTERING AGENCY:
EGLE Water Resources Division, P.O. Box 30458, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7704
Revision Date: July 2019