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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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FHA General Permit 1: Channel Cleaning under the Stream Cleaning Act

  • Overview
  • Application Guidance
  • Rules
  • FAQ

Flood Hazard Area General Permit Number One (FHA GP1) authorizes a county, municipality or a designated governmental agency the ability to desilt or desnag a channel in which unconsolidated sediment, debris and garbage, obstruct the normal flow of water. This General Permit does not authorize work to make a channel wider or deeper than it previously was, as this could result in worsened flooding conditions on nearby properties.

Please note that if the applicant has already obtained a Freshwater Wetlands Statewide General Permit 26, then that permit constitutes a de facto approval of a Flood Hazard General Permit Number One.  However, the receipt of a Flood Hazard Area General Permit Number One authorization does not relieve an applicant from the need to obtain a Freshwater Wetlands General Permit 26, due to freshwater wetlands notice requirements.
The following restrictions apply for Flood Hazard General Permit Number One Applications:

  • Removal of material below the natural bed of a channel is prohibited; in other words, deepening, straightening, widening, or realignment of the channel is not allowed.
  • The use of heavy equipment in the channel is avoided.
  • The project is conducted from only one bank where possible and vegetation and tree canopy on the more southerly or westerly bank is preserved in order to shade the channel.
  • If the project involves desnaging a channel with a natural bottom, the channel reach must  be less than 500 feet in length and the channel bed must not exceed 15 feet in average width.
  • Channels classified as Pinelands waters or Category One waters under the Department’s Surface Water Quality Standards are not permitted to be cleaned under this General Permit.

Should the applicant not qualify for the FHA GP1, then the applicant must obtain a formal Flood Hazard area Individual Permit, subject to the technical standards of Subchapters 9, 10, and 11 of the rules.

In addition to the FHA GP1 and the Flood Hazard area Individual Permit, the applicant may also consider Permit-by-Rules (PBR) N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(a)5 and N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2 (d)3.  PBR (a)5 does not provide for the removal of fill material or accumulated sediments. However, it is useful for allowing machinery to remove major obstructions from a channel.  Such obstructions include fallen trees, abandoned vehicles, furniture, and other large debris that can not be removed by hand.  Unlike the FHA GP1, the applicant need not be a governmental entity. PBR (d)3 allows the removal of accumulated sediment by hand  or with light weight equipment such as shovels, hoses and hydraulic pumps from a channel within or immediately adjacent  to  lawfully existing bridges and culverts. See the FHA Permit-By-Rule section of this website.

Lastly, if a stream cleaning project is regulated under the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) rules via a CAFRA or Waterfront Development permit, then no separate Flood Hazard approval is required.  In such a situation, the applicant only needs to submit a report and plans demonstrating compliance with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules as part of the CZM permit application. 

This page is for informational purposes only. Please see N.J.A.C. 7:13-8.3 for the precise rules concerning this General Permit.

As stated in the overview, a flood hazard area General Permit Number One does not allow widening, deepening, straightening or realigning of the channel. Such activities constitute channel modification and require an Individual Permit pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:13-10.1 (C).
All Flood Hazard General Permits must comply with all applicable requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:13-8.1, and “General Permit Conditions” at N.J.A.C.  7:13-8.2.

Getting a Flood Hazard General Permit 1:  If you believe that your project qualifies for an FHA GP1 and you do not know how to apply for one, we suggest that you visit “The Permit Process” section of this website for more information. You will get a general overview of the ins and outs of the permitting process and will also be directed to the necessary forms you will need. Please be advised that any application submitted must follow the procedures and information requirements.

Note: The Department has, for your convenience, developed an Application Checklist for all Flood Hazard General Permits. Please follow carefully the requirements as outlined on the checklist for FHA GP1 to insure that you have all the required information necessary to complete and process your application.

A direct link to the rules cited in our standard approval letter for this General Permit can be found below.

N.J.A.C. 7:13-8.5 FHA General permit 1

N.J.A.C. 7:13-8.1 Standards applicable to all general permits

N.J.A.C. 7:13-8.2 “General Permit Conditions”

N.J.A.C. 7:13 - Index to the entire rule.

Please Note: The Department has made every effort to ensure that the text of this regulation is identical to the official, legally effective version set forth in the New Jersey Register. However, should there be any discrepancies between the text on this web site and the official version of the rule, the official version will govern. For more information on obtaining official versions of the rules, How To Get a Paper Copy of Department Rules

Frequently Asked Questions

If you do not see an answer to your question below, please use the Land Use Contact form on this website. We will make every attempt to answer your question as promptly as possible.

No FAQ for this general permit at this time.



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Last Updated: January 16, 2018