Marsh & Shore Permits, Revocable Licenses, & Jurisdictional Determinations

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Find answers to common questions:

Permit FAQ: Find answers to common questions about coastal permits.  Jurisdictional Determinations: Request a marsh or shore jurisdictional determination.  Permits and Authorizations: Find resources for coastal permits and authorizations.

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About Georgia's Marshes

With approximately 378,000 acres of salt marsh, Georgia has almost one-third of the total salt marsh area on the eastern seaboard. The coastal marshlands of Georgia comprise a vital natural resource system. Our marsh is important for

  • The growth and survival of the fish and shellfish that makes Georgia’s famous seafood industry so productive
  • The treatment of polluted run-off that originates from the uplands
  • Our protection from erosion and from coastal flooding during storm events
  • Natural resource recreation, which has become vitally linked to the economy of Georgia's coastal zone and to that of the entire state

Georgia's marshes are one of the most pristine coastal areas in the country, and it needs protection to remain so. As public trustees of the coastal marshlands for succeeding generations, the Coastal Resources Division (CRD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources allows for the sustainable use of the estuarine area through permits and other methods of authorization that will preserve the condition of the marsh while still allowing for its enjoyment.

Coastal Laws & Revocable License Authority

CRD uses three main mechanisms of authority to allow for activities in the jurisdictional marsh and shore areas and to regulate structures and activities that impact public trust lands which fall under jurisdiction of these regulations:

The Coastal Marshlands Protection Act 

The Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA) regulates activities and water dependent structures in jurisdictional marshlands. Projects that require a CMPA permit include marinas, community docks, bridges, dredging, bank stabilizations, modifications to any such structure, and any construction not exempted from the Act. If you are planning any construction or activity in or near salt marsh in the State of Georgia, you must contact our office for a jurisdictional determination and to find out if you need a CMPA permit for your project.

The Shore Protection Act 

The Shore Protection Act (SPA) regulates activities and structures in jurisdictional beach and shore areas.  Projects that require an SPA permit include beach renourishment, rock revetments, landscaping, dune crossovers, any structure in the jurisdictional area and any modification to any such structure. Beach driving, as indicated by O.C.G.A. 12-5-230 and Rule 391-2-2, is allowed under very specific criteria and is handled by CRD staff through the authority of the SPA Committee. If you are planning any construction or activity in or near the shore, beach, or dunes in the State of Georgia, you must contact our office for a jurisdictional determination and to find out if you need a SPA permit for your project. 

The Revocable License Authority 

The Revocable License (RL) authority of the State of Georgia allows for structures to occupy public trust lands water bottoms. The RL is issued as a standard component of the CMPA, Individual Dock Permit, and Bank Stabilization permit processes. It is also issued for projects and entities that may be exempt from the CMPA process such as Georgia Power and Georgia Ports Authority. As the name implies, this license can be revoked if project compliance is not met. If you’re planning a project that may occupy any estuarine or water bottoms area, you must contact our office to find out if you need an RL for your project. 


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