Permitting Restoration Projects

Local, state, and federal agencies have authority over dams, dam removal, floodplain restoration, road-stream crossings and ecological restoration. As a result, multiple permits are often required to complete a river restoration project. Each permit has a regulatory threshold that specifies whether it is required for a specific project. Not all permits may be required at all river restoration projects, depending on site-specific factors and state and regional regulatory requirements. Usually the more thoroughly prepared the design and permit application, the less time it takes to receive approval. In some cases, regulators may require additional analysis during the permitting process.

Project permitting costs vary widely depending on project complexity. If the work is entirely completed by consultants, including completing paperwork, filing forms, and attending hearings, meetings and site visits, permitting can cost between $1,000 and $50,000 depending on site-specific permit requirements. The proponent can realize significant cost savings by handling the filings and any hearings.

General Recommendations

Consult with and work cooperatively with regulatory agencies early in the permitting process.

Plan sufficient time to complete all the necessary consultations and regulatory processes, typically 3 to 6 months

You will likely need some (but not all) of the national permits mentioned below for a river restoration project:

The following resources will provide some guidance on the topic of permitting restoration projects: