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Freshwater Wetlands - Application Guidance
Habitat Creation and Enhancement Activities (General Permit 16)

  • Overview
  • Application Guidance
  • Rules
  • FAQ

General permit 16 (GP# 16) authorizes habitat creation and enhancement activities in freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and State open waters, necessary to implement a plan for the restoration, creation or enhancement of the habitat and water quality functions and values of wetlands, which is sponsored or substantially funded by a Federal or State agency or other entity described in (b) below. For the purposes of this general permit, a "sponsor" shall be an active participant in or substantial financial contributor to the activities, and shall approve the activities in writing.

A General permit 16 authorizes any of the following:

  1. A fish and/or wildlife management plan created or approved by the Department's Division of Fish and Wildlife;
  2. A project plan approved under the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
  3. A project plan created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service under the Wetlands Reserve program, the Conservation Reserve program, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement program, the wildlife habitat incentive program (WHIP), or a similar program, and approved by the local Soil Conservation District;
  4. A plan approved by the Department's Office of Natural Resource Damages for the restoration, creation or enhancement of natural resources injured as the result of an oil spill or release of a hazardous substance;
  5. A mitigation project required by and approved by a government agency, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
  6. A habitat creation or enhancement plan carried out by one of the Federal or State agencies at 1 through 5 above or by a government resource protection agency such as a parks commission; or
  7. A habitat creation or enhancement plan carried out by a charitable conservancy, as defined at N.J.A.C. 7:7A-15.1, provided that the plan is part of a program listed at 2 through 5 above.

This page is for informational purposes only. Please see N.J.A.C. 7:7A-7.16 for the precise rules concerning this General Permit.

Before applying for a GP 16, the sponsor shall demonstrate that the proposed project:

  1. Is part of a comprehensive plan for the restoration, creation or enhancement of the habitat and water quality functions and values of wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters;
  2. Is sponsored or partially funded by an appropriate entity listed in the Overview;
  3. Is consistent with the goals of the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act;
  4. Will improve the values and functions of the ecosystem; and
  5. Will have a reasonable likelihood of success.

General permit 16 does not authorize an activity unless the sole purpose of the activity is
habitat creation or enhancement. For example, general permit 16 does not authorize construction of a detention basin in wetlands for stormwater management, even if the detention basin or the project of which the basin is a part will also result in habitat creation or enhancement. Similarly, general permit 16 does not authorize a flood control project that may also result in creation or enhancement of some wildlife habitat.

Activities under General Permit 16 shall 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-13.1, Standard conditions that apply to all permits.

Getting a GP16: If you believe that your project will require a GP16, 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 required. 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-7.16 General permit 16 - Habitat Creation and Enhancement Activities

7:7A-5.7 Conditions that apply to all general permit authorizations

7:7A-20.2 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.

Q: When do I need to obtain a Freshwater Wetland General Permit 16?

A. When there is a need for creation, restoration or enhancement of a natural habitat in a regulated area.

Q. What type of activities may be authorized under General Permit 16?

A. As listed in 7:7A-7.16:

  1. Altering hydrology to restore or create wetlands conditions, such as by blocking,
    removing, or disabling a human-made drainage ditch or other drainage structure such as a
    tile, culvert or pipe;
  2. Breaching a structure such as a dike or berm in order to allow water into an area;
  3. Placing habitat improvement structures such as:
    1. Nesting islands;
    2. Fencing to contain, or to prevent intrusion by, livestock or other animals; and
    3. Fish habitat enhancement devices or fish habitat improvement structures such as
      placed boulders, stream deflectors, or brush piles;
  4. Regrading to provide proper elevation or topography for wetlands restoration, creation, or
    enhancement; and
  5. Cutting, burning or otherwise managing vegetation in order to increase habitat diversity
    or control nuisance flora.
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