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Freshwater Wetlands - Application Guidance
Repair and Maintenance of an Existing Structure (General Permit 1)

  • Overview
  • Application Guidance
  • Rules
  • FAQ

General Permit Number 1 (GP1) permits the repair, rehabilitation, replacement, maintenance or reconstruction of a currently serviceable structure, fill, roadway, utility line or active irrigation or drainage ditch, or stormwater management facility within freshwater wetlands or State open waters. They also must have either been lawfully existing prior to July 1, 1988 or have previously received a freshwater wetlands permit from the Department. Essentially, this should be considered a "maintenance" permit, to allow for maintenance of important infrastructure within wetlands and State open waters. It is not intended to allow for the expansion or modification of infrastructure.

Please note that the following restrictions apply for all GP1 applications:

  • No alternative uses are permitted
  • No expansion is permitted
  • No deviations in original design are allowed (See exceptions under the rule)
  • No additional disturbance is permitted

When appying for a GP1, it is important to note that if the structure, fill, roadway, or utility line is NOT currently serviceable, or if the ditch or stormwater facility is NOT functional and/or under active use, then it is likely that any application for a GP1 for any work within freshwater wetlands and/or State open waters would not be approved by the Division. In these circumstances, an alternate permit should be considered.

Note: Repair and maintenance activities within a freshwater wetlands transition area that satisfy the requirements are not regulated and do not need a permit or transition area waiver if conducted in a freshwater wetlands transition area.

In order to determine whether or not an area of freshwater wetlands, transition areas or State open waters may be disturbed by any proposed activity, detailed information about that wetlands and the site must be obtained, and an inspection of the property by a representative of the Department is required. The Department offers a “Letter of Interpretation" (LOI), which is a document that may describe if there are wetlands on the property, and if so, where they are located.

A GP 1 may be combined with other general permits or permits provided the total disturbance of all GP's do not exceed the one acre threshold for multiple general permits.

This page is for informational purposes only. Please see N.J.A.C. 7:7A-5.1 for the precise rules concerning this General Permit.

The most common mistake made when applying for this permit is that a project is not eligible for this permit. As is stated in the overview, this GP is only available for those simple projects for repair and maintenance. In other words, for a replacement in kind.

For example, if a bulkhead along a pond needed to be replaced, you could do this activity under a GP1, however it would have to be an in kind replacement in the EXACT same location. You would NOT be allowed under this general permit to place the bulkhead in front of the existing bulkhead, remove the old one, and backfill. This "leapfroging" type of bulkheading would result in a net loss of State open water and is not considered repair and maintenance. This activity would therefore require an Individual Permit instead of a General Permit No. 1. (One type of exception to this would be in the case of a lake bulkhead that was part of a dam, in which case replacement would require a General Permit 18 for Dam repair instead of a GP1.)

All freshwater wetland general permits must comply with all applicable requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:7A-4.3, "Conditions that apply to all general permits", and N.J.A.C. 7:7A-13.2, "Establishing permit conditions".

Getting a GP1: If you believe that your project will require a 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. It will give you a general overview on the ins and outs of permitting, and will direct you to the forms necessary to apply. Please be advised that any application submitted must follow the procedures and information requireme. If you intend on applying for multiple freshwater wetland general permits, be advised that there are strict limits on what can and cannot be applied for, with a 1 acre cap on wetland disturbance for any one project site.

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

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

7:7A-5.1 General permit 1- Repair and Maintenance of an Existing Structure

7:7A-4.3 Conditions that apply to all general permit authorizations

7:7A-13.1 Standard conditions that apply to all permits

7:7A - 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.

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.

Q: I have a structure in a transition area that I want to repair. Do I need a GP1?

A: No, activities regulated under a GP1 are not regulated in a freshwater wetland transition area.

Q: I have to modify my design of a stormwater pipe to allow for additional stormwater flow. Can I apply for a GP1?

A: No. Expansion or deviation of design which would change the design characteristics are not considered maintenance activities and would require a different permit.

Q: I want to replace a cement pipe with a pvc pipe of the same diameter. Is this allowed under a GP1?

A: Yes, deviations in materials necessary for construction or to follow best management practices are allowed as long as there is no expansion in scope of the project and no additional wetlands or State open waters are affected.

Q: I have a ditch that has filled in over time, can I get a GP1 to re-trench it?

A: Depends, but probably not. A ditch must be "active" to be eligible for a GP1. In other words, it must be functional at the time of the application in order to receive a GP1. For example, old irrigation or drainage ditches on farmland which has been fallow and where the ditches no longer function as designed do not qualify for a GP1.

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Last Updated: January 16, 2014