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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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Freshwater Wetlands - Application Guidance
Bank Stabilization (General Permit 20)

  • Overview
  • Application Guidance
  • Rules
  • FAQ

General Permit 20 (GP20) authorizes activities necessary to stabilize a bank of a stream, river, pond, lake or other body of water in order to reduce or prevent erosion within freshwater wetlands, transition areas and or State open waters.

Examples of bank stabilization activities are the placement of gabions, rip-rap, or geotextiles along a stream bank. General permit 20 does not authorize the channelization of a stream or the stabilization of the bottom of the stream.

The Department requires that applicants use vegetative or bioengineering stabilization methods wherever possible, as this is generally better for the health of the watercourse. If a project incorporates vegetative methods into the project, the applicant can conduct bank stabilization activities along a longer stretch of stream bank. For example,

  • For bank stabilization activities involving the placement of rip-rap (i.e. no vegetative plantings included), no more than 150 feet of stream bank may be impacted under this GP.
  • For bank stabilization activities involving (soil bioengineering systems) [link to Chapter 16 of the NRCS Engineering Field Handbook??], no more than 300 feet of stream bank may be impacted.
  • For bank stabilization activities funded by the Department's Division of Watershed Management, no more than 500 feet of stream bank may be impacted.
  • If the bank stabilization activities consist of vegetative planting measures only, then there is no limit to the length of stream bank that can be impacted.

Getting a GP20: If you believe that your project will require a GP20, 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.

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.

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-5.20 General permit 20- Bank stabilization

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.

Q: What are examples of bank stabilization?

A. Examples of bank stabilization activities are the placement of gabions, rip-rap, or geotextiles along a stream bank. However, General permit 20 does not authorize the channelization of a stream or the stabilization of the bottom of the stream.

Q: What if I want to place rip-rap along 100 feet of a stream, and use soil bioengineering along 200 feet of a stream? Can I do this under one GP20?

A: Yes, the length limits for the different types of stabilization measures may be combined under one GP20.

Q: What if I need to do bank stabilization along both banks of a stream?

A: The length limits under a GP20 apply to the total linear footage of stream bank affected, regardless of which side of the stream it is on, or whether the activities are contiguous. For example, a bank stabilization project using only rip-rap could disturb one bank of a stream for a distance of 150 feet, or both banks for 75 feet.

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Last Updated: April 12, 2022