Coastal Permits

An Environmental Permitting Fact Sheet

Program Overview

This permit program, administered by the Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse's Land and Water Resources Division (LWRD), regulates a variety of activities in tidal wetlands and in tidal, coastal or navigable waters of the state through two different permit programs: Structures, Dredging and Fill; and Tidal Wetlands.

DEEP uses both individual and general permits to regulate activities. Individual permits are issued directly to an applicant, whereas general permits are permits issued to authorize similar minor activities by one or more applicants. Authorization of an activity under a general permit is governed by that general permit. Since the general permit process may be quicker and less costly, check the List of General Permits fact sheet (DEEP-FS-004) to determine whether any of your activities may be eligible for authorization under a general permit before applying for an individual permit. Other short processes such as Certificates of Permission and Emergency Authorizations may apply to your proposed activity. Consult the Short Permit Processes fact sheet (DEEP-FS-003) or call our LWRD staff at 860-424-3019 for further information.

Any applicant for a federal Army Corps of Engineers permit for work which would result in the discharge of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States, including wetlands, may also be required to obtain a state Water Quality Certificate from DEEP pursuant to Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. Such work or discharge must be consistent with the provisions of the federal Act and with the Connecticut Water Quality Standards. Generally, certification is made in conjunction with issuance of a state permit under the structures, dredging and fill statutes. In cases where an Army Corps permit is being sought, the applicant may qualify for authorization under a Programmatic General Permit (PGP), which is a more expedited process.

In reviewing requests for water quality certification, DEEP must consider the effects of proposed discharges on ground and surface water quality, and on existing and designated uses of the waters of the state. Examples of such discharges include, but are not limited to: the discharge of dredged and fill material and stormwater during construction; the incidental discharge of sediments during dredging operations; the discharge of stormwater from a facility once it is constructed; and any excavation, land clearing and grading in or affecting navigable waters.

Proposed activities in the coastal zone must also be reviewed for consistency with the applicable standards and policies of Part VII of the Connecticut Coastal Management Plan, and Section 307(c)(1) of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, Subpart C of 15 CFR Part 930, as amended.

When making a decision on a permit application under any or all of these authorities, LWRD must consider factors such as: the potential effect on the area's natural resources, including, but not limited to, plant and animal species; the prevention or alleviation of shore erosion and coastal flooding; the use and development of all adjoining lands; the improvement of coastal and inland navigation for all vessels; the interests of the state in such areas as pollution control, water quality, recreational use of public water, and management of coastal resources; and the rights and interests of all persons concerned with the proposed activity.

Authorizing Statutes

Sections 22a-359 through 22a-363f of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) (Structures, Dredging and Fill)

CGS Sections 22a-28 through 22a-35 (Tidal Wetlands)

CGS Sections 22a-90 through 22a-112 (Connecticut Coastal Management Act)

Section 401 of the Federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C., Sec. 1314)


Sections 22a-30-1 through 22a-30-17 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (RCSA) (Tidal Wetlands)

Who Must Apply

Any person, as defined by CGS Section 22a-2(c), who is proposing to carry out any regulated activity in the tidal wetlands, or in tidal, coastal, or navigable waters of the state, including, but not limited to:

  • the erection of structures including, but not limited to: breakwaters, docks, pilings, booms, marine railways, culverts, floats, jetties, ramps, utility lines/cables, roadways, walkways, buildings, decks, etc.;
  • dredging for the purposes of maintaining existing channels, turning basins, vessel berths, mooring areas and other waterfront facilities;
  • the erection of shoreline flood and erosion control or stabilization structures such as riprap, seawalls, bulkheads, and tide gates;
  • the placement of any obstacle, obstruction or encroachment;
  • maintenance or repair of certain existing structures, fill, obstructions, or encroachments;
  • all work occurring within tidal wetlands or waterward of the coastal jurisdiction line incidental to any of the above activities including: any structure, activity, construction, staging of equipment, or site preparation; grading, excavating, dredging, disposing of dredged materials, filling, etc.; the removal of vegetation or other material, or other modification of a site;
  • draining, dredging, excavating, or removing of soil, mud, sand, gravel, aggregate of any kind or rubbish from any tidal wetland;
  • dumping, filling or depositing upon tidal wetlands any soil, stones, sand, gravel, mud, aggregate of any kind, rubbish or similar material, either directly or otherwise; and
  • erecting structures, driving piling, or placing obstructions in tidal wetlands.

Required Application Documents

Permit Application for Programs Administered by the Land and Water Resources Division, including supporting documentation such as site plans, photographs showing existing conditions of the site, USGS topographic quadrangle map (8½" by 11" copy or original), abutting or adjacent property owner information; Applicant Compliance Information (DEEP-APP-002).


Fees for structures, dredging and fill permit applications are based on the area occupied by the project. An application fee of $660.00 covers projects less than 825 square feet. For projects larger than 825 square feet, the applicant calculates the fee using the Transmittal Form Instructions.

Review and Processing

Upon receipt of the application package, the application fee, and the certified copy of the Notice of Application, a preliminary review of the application is conducted for sufficiency and general consistency with applicable standards and criteria. Once the application is deemed sufficient, a detailed technical review of the application is conducted to determine the extent of any adverse impacts. This review includes the consideration of feasible alternatives to the original proposal. If alternatives are available, LWRD recommends authorization for only that alternative with the least adverse impact and/or the least encroachment waterward of the coastal jurisdiction line. Upon completion of this technical review, a tentative determination to grant or deny the permit will be made by the Commissioner. A Notice of Tentative Determination will be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the affected area and public comments will be solicited on the tentative determination. In some cases, a public hearing may be held. After completion of the technical review and consideration of any public comments, and subsequent to the close of any hearing, DEEP will issue a final decision on the permit application.

Unique Processing Features

Any applicant for a federal Army Corps of Engineers permit for work which would result in the discharge of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States, including wetlands, may also be required to obtain a state Water Quality Certificate from DEEP. (Contact LWRD for more information.) If the project has the potential to impact any endangered or threatened species, or species of special concern, or their essential habitats, the application will require additional review by the staff of the Natural Diversity Data Base program.

Public Participation

The applicant is responsible for publishing a Notice of Application when the application is submitted to DEEP. Once this notice is published, the applicant must send a copy of the notice to the Chief Elected Official of the municipality in which the regulated activity is proposed, and send a copy of the notice, along with the Certification of Notice Form – Notice of Application (DEP-APP-005A), to DEEP. After the technical review, a second public notice is published by the Commissioner stating the tentative determination to grant or deny the permit. DEEP may require an applicant to post a sign on the site or to provide any other reasonable form of notice necessary to apprise the public and abutting landowners of the proposed activity.

If the application involves a structure, dredging or filling within a tidal wetland area, a public hearing shall be held and notice of the hearing will be published along with the Notice of Tentative Determination. Under the conditions specified in CGS Section 22a-32, the Commissioner may publish notice of his intent to waive the hearing requirement and of his tentative decision regarding the application. However, if DEEP receives a petition signed by at least twenty-five persons requesting a public hearing, a hearing shall be held on the application.

For all other types of applications, a Notice of Tentative Determination will be published with a thirty day comment period.

Average Processing Time

For this permit program, processing time for typical applications, based upon recent experience, is as indicated in the document Average Processing Times for Coastal Permits. Past performance is not a guarantee of future processing timeframes.  In order to increase the efficiency of application processing, we recommend that you assure that your application package is properly completed at the time of submittal, and that you promptly reply to any requests for information.

Contact Information

Land and Water Resources Division
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127

This overview is designed to answer general questions and provide basic information. Refer to the appropriate statutes and regulations for the specific regulatory language of the different permit programs. This document should not be relied upon to determine whether or not an environmental permit is required. It is your responsibility to obtain and comply with all required permits.

Fact Sheet: DEEP-LWRD-FS-100

Content Last Updated March 19, 2021.

Users Guide to Environmental Permits