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Division of Land Use Regulation
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Scour Protection

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

Scour Protection

Activities which may disturb special areas of the State that are regulated by the Department, including scour protection, 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.

Scour protection 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 scour protection 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.


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.

The required permit for scour protection depends on the nature of the location where it is proposed.  If the area is scoured and you are proposing to fill that scour hole (and you are a public entity protecting a public bridge or culvert), the activity will qualify for General Permit #3

If you are not a public entity, or a proposing scour protection in excess of filling in a scour hole then the construction will require an Individual Permit.

Scour protection involves the placement of stone or hard armoring structures, usually at the end of outfall structures, in order to stabilize the ground surface..  Scour protection is most often placed in water or wetlands.  Therefore, a Flood Hazard Area or Freshwater Wetlands permit may be required in addition to the appropriate coastal permits. New scour protection is usually installed in conjunction with larger private, public, residential or commercial development projects and is reviewed in the context of the larger project. 

Maintenance of scour protection may qualify for an exemption from CAFRA permitting provided at N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(b) and (c).   Please review the list of exemptions under the “Coastal Permitting” section of this website for more information. 

There are no coastal permits-by-rule or general permits that specifically authorize scour protection.  Please refer to the “Jurisdiction” section of the "Coastal Permitting" section of the 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. The availability of certain permits and exemptions for a project depends on where your project is proposed.  Additional information regarding the Division’s coastal program can be found on the “Coastal Permitting” section of this website.  If necessary, please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center for 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: February 9, 2015