Bank Stabilization is in the context of the Division of Land Use Regulations has nothing to do with the financial system, but rather, with the embankments along tidal and non-tidal waterways such as streams and rivers and along ponds and lakes. Sometimes, due to human and non-human causes, an embankment suffers erosion and/or instability. Left unchecked, it may eventually stabilize, but this could result in large amounts of sediment being introduced into the environment, as well as continued erosion and possible hazard to life and property. In cases such as these, a bank stabilization project is often used to modify the embankments of a waterway in order to stablize it.
Activities, including bank stabilization, may disturb special areas of the State that are regulated by the Department, may require an approval from the Division prior to construction. An area containing sensitive and endangered plant species for example, may be irreparably damaged by such activities. It is important therefore to closely examine a proposed project relative to the sensitive areas which may be impacted.
Bank stabilization may require multiple approvals from the Division, depending on the special areas impacted by the project. If you don't know what special areas are on your site, please check out the before you buy, before you build section of this website for guidance on determining if your site has one of these regulated special areas on it.
For information on Land Use permit requirements for bank stabilization within specific "special areas", please click on each of the tabs above.*
*For impacts to Streams, Rivers, Lakes, Ponds, Flood Plains, Flood Way, Riparian Zones and other water body related areas, please click on the "Flood Hazard" tab. For impacts to special coastal areas, please click on the "Coastal" tab. For impacts to Freshwater Wetlands, click on the "Freshwater Wetlands" tab. Information on Tidelands can be found in the "Tidelands" tab.
Bank stabilization within freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters requires a Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) permit.
A FWW General Permit 20 -- Bank stabilization) is available for this type of activity. To be eligible for a GP20, the total length of bank stabilization proposed can be no more than 150 feet of riprap or [gabion baskets] OR no more than 300 feet of soil-bioengineering (i.e. a combination of hard armoring and vegetative methods). There is no length limit for a project that will consist only of vegetative planting measures.
If the bank stabilization project cannot comply with the criteria for a GP20, the applicant would need to apply for an Individual Permit (IP). An IP application would need to include a description as to why the project cannot be minimized to satisfy the General Permit criteria described under the GP20 link above.
Definitions: Rip-rap: a foundation or sustaining wall of stones or chunks of concrete thrown together without order on an embankment slope to prevent erosion
Gabion baskets: a basket or cage filled with earth or rocks placed along an embankment slope to prevent erosion
The only potential qualifying Permit by Rule (PBR) associated with streambank stabilization is found in N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(a)5, which is for the use of machinery to remove a major obstruction from a regulated water. Please note, this PBR does not authorize the disturbance of trees within the riparian zone nor does it authorize the removal of accumulate sediment from a regulated water.
The only potential qualifying general permit associated with streambank stabilization is a Flood Hazard Area General Permit No. 2A, for agricultural activities only.
All other activities that do not qualify for a PBR or general permit must apply for a Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit
. It is important to note, streams are dynamic in nature and as such, any proposed design should be based on stressors that are watershed based, not local. Vegetation measures are preferred over hard armoring
Bank and/or shoreline stabilization is installed to provide protection to eroding shorelines. Within CAFRA, Waterfront Development or Coastal Wetlands jurisdictions this activity generally requires a permit. There are no exemptions or permits-by–rule for this activity. If your project is a bulkhead, please review Bulkheads under Common Projects.
See the “Coastal Jurisdiction” section of this website to determine which areas regulated under the Coastal Permit Program rules N.J.A.C. 7:7-1.1 et seq. and the Coastal Zone Management rules N.J.A.C. 7:7E-1.1 et seq occur on your site. Which permits are available for a project depends on which jurisdiction applies.
If the project does not comply with an exemption, permit-by-rule or general permit it generally will require a Waterfront Development, CAFRA, and /or Coastal Wetland Individual Permit. Additional information regarding the coastal program can be found on the Coastal Areas section of this website. Please contact us for further assistance.
These coastal general permits map apply to your project:
- Coastal General Permit 11 is for construction of a revetment at a single family home or duplex. For further information regarding the limitations and details of this general permit please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.11.
- Coastal General Permit 12 is for the construction of gabions at a single family or duplex home. For further information regarding the limitations and details of this general permit please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.12.
- Coastal General Permit 21 is for stabilization of eroded shorelines. For further information regarding the limitations and details of this general permit please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.21.
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.
Bank Stabilization 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.