Do I Need a Permit?

Yes. Any work that is done below the Mean High Water (MHW) line will require a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the US Army Corps of Engineers. To get an idea of where MHW is at your site, take note of where high tide usually hits along your property. If you are addressing erosion below that mark, you will need a permit.

Redeemed seawall base and native grasses

Living shorelines, like this hybrid option with a redeemed seawall base and native grasses, require a state and federal permit.

If you are only planting vegetation along the uplands, and will not be working in the intertidal zone or wetland areas, you do NOT need a permit. Native plants can add beauty to the top of your shoreline, attract pollinators, and provide beneficial shelter and resting areas for wildlife. The Florida Native Plant Society provides in-depth information about native plants appropriate for your area.

When you have a general idea of what type of living shoreline (LSL) might be best for your shoreline conditions, contact your regional FDEP permitting office. Permit options vary in costs and complexity based on the layout and the site conditions, and regional Florida Department of Environmental Protection staff can help identify which permits will be required based on your needs.

Moderate to severe erosion along a shoreline.

Moderate to severe erosion along a shoreline.

Each LSL project, no matter how small or large, receives careful review from both state and federal regulatory authorities.

STATE: Most LSL projects on private properties are small, and can be considered “exempt” from some of the regulatory requirements for larger projects, if they meet certain conditions (Ch. 62-330.051(12)(e)). All property owners are encouraged to fill out and submit an application to FDEP for verification that the proposed project is exempt. Find out which permit is right for you.

Begin the state application process.

FEDERAL: The Army Corps of Engineers also recognizes the benefits of LSL projects, and has issued a Nationwide Permit especially for these types of construction activities. Many private property owners will quality for the Nationwide Permit 54, which authorizes “the construction and maintenance of living shorelines to stabilize banks and shores in coastal waters…”. Read more to find out if your project qualifies.

Begin the federal application process.

Information about different types of permits.

Examples of Living Shorelines and sample drawings.