Authorization and Permit Applications

Image of dockBelow you will find a list of Authorizations and Permits, as well as links to the appropriate applications.

Private Recreational Docks

Applicants must use the Individual Permit (IP) process. Under this process, the applicant must submit all application materials to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division AND to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Savannah Regional District Office. Applicants that wish to share a single dock with more than four waterfront residents or any non-waterfront residents must use the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act Application Process.

If your dock qualifies for the IP process, click here for application materials for Individual Permits.

Click here for a link to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Savannah Regional District Office.

Marsh Permits

The CMPA permit application process is intended for projects that will impact jurisdictional marsh and tidal water bodies. Projects covered under the Act include marinas, community docks, bridges, dredging, bank stabilizations, modification to any such structure, and any construction not exempted from the Act. The CMPA Permit-Issuing Authority consists of a five member GADNR Board appointed group called the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act Committee. Depending on the size and nature of a project, the application materials may be heard by the Committee in a public meeting forum. Projects to be considered must be water dependent and within the public interest. 

Due to the dynamic nature of our area, erosion of upland can occur anywhere along tidal river and creek banks. Protecting the upland bank may be necessary to preserve the integrity and stability of your property. Bank stabilization techniques can include hard structures like bulkheads and seawalls, or softer techniques like rip-rap placement or living shorelines techniques. Any bank stabilization project occurring below the high tide line or within a marsh jurisdictional area requires written approval from both the Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Projects less than 500 linear feet are permitted through the authority of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), under the Nationwide Permit (NWP) #13. Please contact William M. Rutlin, Branch Chief, US Army Corps of Engineers office at 912.652.5893 or for further information.
  • Contact your local Coastal Permit Coordinator at (912) 264-7218 or click on the Regulatory Points of Contact link at the bottom of this page with questions to learn more about application requirements for Georgia Department of Natural Resources approval.
  • Application materials must be submitted to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division AND to the Environmental Protection Division Coastal Office to ensure that no buffer variance is required. 

Click here for the CMPA Permit Application and Law 

Click here for the Effective Impervious Cover Tool

Shore Permits

The SPA permit application process is intended for structures that will impact jurisdictional shore areas.  Structures covered under the Act include:

  • beach renourishment
  • rock revetments
  • landscaping
  • dune crossovers
  • any structure in the jurisdictional area

Click here for the SPA Permit Application and Law

Letters of Permission

During the 2013 Legislative Session, House Bill 402 was passed to include amendments to both the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA) and the Shore Protection Act (SPA). 

Per House Bill 402, Letter of Permission is defined in both acts to mean, “written authorization from the department to conduct  a proposed activity in an area subject to the jurisdiction of this part, provided such activity is either within the physical perimeter of an existing serviceable project or involves the construction and removal of a project or other temporary activity that concludes within six months, inclusive of the time needed to return all affected areas to a condition approximately to, or better than, that which existed before commencement of the activity.” 

In plain language, House Bill 402 does the following regarding a Letter of Permission:

• Makes it clear through statutory language that the procedure of issuing a Letter of Permission falls under the powers and duties of the Department of Natural Resources. 
• Allows the Department to collect a reasonable fee for processing a Letter of Permission (at this time there are no plans to collect such a fee). 
• Adds language that clarifies that no Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA) or Shore Protection Act (SPA) permit is required for an activity authorized by a Letter of Permission. 
• Requires the Department to provide public notification of the issuance of a Letter of Permission at least 15-days prior to the commencement of the activity authorized by such Letter of Permission.  Public notification may not be required if the department has determined that such activity is necessary for public safety or the delivery of public services.

In order for staff to properly evaluate and issue a Letter of Permission, at a minimum the following items are required:

• A request for a LOP must be provided to staff for evaluation a minimum of 45 business days prior to the proposed start date of the activity.    
• The request must be from someone who owns or has an interest in the subject property or has permission from such individual or entity.  
• Proposed project scope, including the timeframe of the proposed activity.
• Proposed project drawings.

Contact your local permit coordinator at the Brunswick headquarters office at (912) 264-7218 with questions or to schedule a pre-application site visit.

Research and Monitoring

To evaluate and provide appropriate authorization for research and monitoring projects conducted in the state's jurisdictional areas for the public interest, a written proposal is required.

Click here for Research Requirements and Application

Beach Driving

Beach driving, as indicated by Title 12, Rule 391-2-2,  is allowed for under very specific criteria and is handled by CRD staff through the authority of the SPA Committee. A Beach Driving Authorization is required when a motor vehicle is used on, over, or across the dynamic dune field or beaches. Those individuals seeking an authorization must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Shore Protection Committee that they meet one or more of the criteria which justify driving on the beach.

Please note: Applications will NOT be considered for renewal more than 90 days prior to expiration.

Click here for beach driving rules.

Click here for approved access routes.

Click here for the Beach Driving Authorization Application, or contact the Beach Driving Coordinator, at our Brunswick headquarters office at (912) 264-7218 with any questions.

Waterbottoms Lease

Leases of public trust marshlands and waterbottoms are granted by the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee for marina facilities with greater than five hundred linear feet of mooring space.  The Coastal Marshlands Protection Act requires that the lease fee charged to for-profit facilities reflect fair market value.  The Georgia Coastal Management Program has been designated by the Committee to act on its behalf to evaluate, enforce, and execute water bottom leases. Amendments to the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act made during the 2009 session of the Georgia General Assembly resulted in minor fluctuations of annual lease payments. House Bill 170, now codified at Official Code of Georgia Annotated Section 12-5-287(d), establishes a base annual lease fee in 2009 of $1,000.00 per acre and a mechanism to adjust the annual lease rate to changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  The Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee reviews base annual rent on or before May 1 each year.  Beginning in 2010, the 2009 rate of change (inflation or deflation) in the CPI for urban consumers, less food and energy, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is used to calculate the total amount due.

Overnight Anchorage

Click here to learn more about overnight anchoring in Georgia and liveaboard vessels.

Points of Contact

Click here for our Regulatory Points of Contact