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Division of Land Use Regulation
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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NOTE: All webpages and forms listed on this website are being amended in accordance with the December 18, 2017 rule changes. We will be updating these pages as soon as possible. While these updates are in progress, our web pages may contain inaccuracies. Please refer to the appropriate rule for the most accurate and updated regulations for your activity of concern.

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PermittingCommon Project TypesFreshwater WetlandsStreams & Rivers (FHA)Coastal AreasTidelandsHighlandsMitigationPermit Extension ActElectronic (E) ServicesApplication Status

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Scour Protection

  • Overview
  • Freshwater Wetlands
  • Flood Hazard
  • Coastal
  • Tidelands

Scour protection projects typically involve the placement of stone or hard armor structures at an outfall terminus and within water and/or wetlands in order to stabilize the ground surface.  As a result, scour protection projects may impact “special areas” that are regulated by the Department and may require multiple permits from the Division of Land Use Regulation prior to site preparation or construction. The presence or absence of special areas can be rudimentarily determined using the Department’s online mapping service, NJ-GeoWeb.  Special areas within your project site may also affect the type of authorization required.  Therefore, it is important to closely examine a proposed activity relative to the sensitive areas which may be impacted. 

The above tabs provide additional information on permit requirements relating to scour protection projects.   For impacts to streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, flood plains, flood ways, riparian zones, please see the "Flood Hazard" tab. For impacts to special coastal areas, please see the "Coastal" tab. For impacts to Freshwater Wetlands, see the "Freshwater Wetlands" tab.  Information on Tidelands can be found by selecting the "Tidelands" tab.

The construction of scour protection within freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters requires a Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) permit.

Four FWW General Permits (GPs) are available for this activity, a GP1, a GP10A, a GP10B, and a GP11. If the proposed scour protection is simply replacing pre-existing material that has since eroded away, a GP1 may be applicable. If the proposed scour protection is associated with the construction or reconstruction of a bridge, roadway, driveway, or culvert, a GP10A or GP10B may be applicable. If the proposed scour protection is associated with the construction of a stormwater outfall structure, a GP11 may be applicable.

(General Permit 1 -- Maintenance and repair of existing features) [link to N.J.A.C. 7:7A-5.1] is for the in-kind replacement of pre-existing material that has eroded away. Activities under a GP1 shall not expand, widen, or deepen the amount of scour protection that was previously authorized.

(General Permit 10A -- Very minor road crossings) [link to N.J.A.C. 7:7A-5.10A] or (General Permit 10B -- Minor road crossings) [link to N.J.A.C. 7:7A-5.10B] is for scour protection associated with the construction or reconstruction of (bridges) [link to Bridges write up], (culverts) [link to Bridges write up], (roads and driveways) [link to Roads and Driveways write up], or (footbridges) [link to Footbridges write up]. If the project qualifies for a GP10A or 10B under one of these scenarios, any necessary scour protection can be authorized as part of the project.

(General Permit 11 -- Outfalls and intake structures) [link to N.J.A.C. 7:7A-5.11] is for the construction of scour protection associated with the construction of a stormwater outfall structure.

If the scour protection cannot comply with the criteria for a GP1, a GP10A, a GP10B, or a GP11, the applicant would need to apply for an (Individual Permit (IP)) [link to N.J.A.C. 7:7A-7.1]. An IP application would need to include a description as to why the project cannot be minimized to satisfy the General Permit criteria described in the links above.

Scour protection activities may be authorized under flood hazard area general permit 3 at N.J.A.C. 7:13-9.3. The activities authorized under this permit are limited to those necessary to maintain or protect an existing structure and those intended to remedy a scour problem within or adjacent to an existing structure. This permit does not authorize activities to remedy large sections of eroded or unstable channel. An engineering certification must be provided with the application to confirm that the amount of stabilizing material placed in the channel is only that amount necessary to protect the structure and to confirm that the stabilizing material does not obstruct the flow in the channel or floodway or otherwise cause flooding outside the channel to increase. Several other requirements apply to minimize impact to the natural channel bank, riparian zone vegetation, and aquatic life.

Scour protection projects within coastal areas may require a CAFRA, Waterfront Development and/or Coastal Wetlands permit in addition to a Flood Hazard Area and/or Freshwater Wetlands permit, depending on the impacts to regulated areas.  The “Jurisdiction” tab of the "Coastal Areas" webpage can help you determine which areas of your site may be regulated.  The availability of certain permits depends on the project’s location. 

Scour protection projects may qualify for an exemption per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.2(b) or N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.2(c). As scour protection projects are usually constructed in conjunction with a larger private, public, residential or commercial development, they are typically reviewed in the context of that larger project.

Please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center at (609) 777-0454 should you require further assistance.

Tidelands, also known as riparian lands, are all those lands now or formerly flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway; that is to say any land that is currently or was previously covered by tidal waters.  The State of New Jersey, and therefore the people of New Jersey, owns all Tidelands except for those to which it has already sold its interest in the form of a riparian grant.  It is important to note that the State generally does not own artificial waterways such as lagoons however, the State does claim those lands within a lagoon that were flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway which existed prior to the creation of the lagoon.

Scour protection that is proposed in a tidelands area may require a tidelands license if the activities are taking place at or below the mean high water line of a tidal waterway or a tidelands grant if the activities are taking place in an area that is currently landward of the mean high water line but was, at some point, flowed by the tide.

A tidelands license is a short term revocable rental document to use tidelands generally for structures such as docks, bulkhead extensions, mooring piles, and other temporary structures as well as for dredging projects. Licenses are project specific and expire after a finite term ranging from one to ten years. Most licenses may be renewed.

A riparian grant, or tidelands grant, is a deed from the State of New Jersey selling its tidelands. Tidelands grants are generally only issued for lands that have already been filled in and are no longer flowed by the tide.

For more information on tidelands instruments, please see the tidelands section of this website.

For information and instruction on how to determine whether you are in an area that may require either a license or a grant, or for information how to apply for Tideland instruments please see the "Before you Build, Before you Buy" webpage.


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Last Updated: January 16, 2018