Wetland Permits

Wetlands provide a necessary benefit to lakes, streams, rivers, groundwater, and wildlife including:

  • Flood and stormwater control
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Protection of groundwater
  • Reduction of pollutants in storm water runoff
  • Erosion control by acting as a sedimentation and filtering basin

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) 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.”

NOTE: This definition may also apply to storm water retention and detention basins.

Part 303, Wetlands Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act requires a person to obtain a permit to complete work in a regulated wetland area for the following activities:

  • Depositing or placing fill material in a wetland
  • Dredging, removing, or permitting the removal of soil or minerals from a wetland
  • Constructing, operating, or maintaining any use or development in a wetland
  • Draining surface water from a wetland

Environment, Health & Safety, Environmental Protection & Permitting Program (EP3) assists the designers with obtaining wetland permits for the University of Michigan (U-M) and is the liaison with state and federal regulators regarding all wetland issues.

Contact EP3 if a project will involve:

  • Earthwork that may impact a wetland
  • Placement of anything in, under, through, or adjacent to a wetland

Permits from the MDEQ for work involving wetlands generally can take up to three months to obtain.  However, the time needed to obtain a permit may be increased if the project site is complex, the project requires a public notice or hearing, or if another regulating agency (i.e., Environmental Protection Agency) is involved in granting the permit.  Therefore, plan accordingly, as work within wetlands or other regulated water bodies may not begin until an approved permit is in hand.