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

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Streams & Rivers - The Flood Hazard Area Control Act

Riparian Zones

Given the many important ecological functions that a healthy riparian zone provides, adequately preserving such areas is essential to protecting New Jersey's natural resources and water supply. However, the Department does recognize the need for construction to sometimes be located within the riparian zones.  The criteria for construction within a riparian zone are contained at N.J.A.C. 7:13-11.2.

The width of the riparian zone is measured as follows:

  • 300 feet along both sides of Category One waters (and all upstream tributaries within the same HUC-14 watershed);
  • 150 feet along trout production waters and all upstream tributaries; trout maintenance waters (and tributaries within one mile upstream) and waters flowing through an area that contains documented habitat for a threatened or endangered species of plant or animal, which is critically dependent on the regulated water for survival (and tributaries within one mile upstream); and50 feet along all other waters.
  • No riparian zone exists along the Atlantic Ocean or any manmade lagoon, stormwater management basin, or oceanfront barrier island, spit, or peninsula.

The riparian zone is described in detail at N.J.A.C. 7:13-4.1.

When planning construction within the riparian zone, there are other portions of the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules to consider.  Depending upon the nature of the project, specific additional standards may apply. 
It is also important to note that the project may also be located within the jurisdictional boundaries of other rules implemented by the Division.  Such rules that may need to be addressed include the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7A), the Coastal Zone Management Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7), the Highlands rules (N.J.A.C. 7:38), and the Stormwater Management rules (N.J.A.C. 7:8).

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Last Updated: February 2, 2021