Any work you do near a river or stream can affect other landowners and public values such as water quality, fish, wildlife, and flood control. To protect the public's interests, federal, state and local governments have developed laws, rules, and ordinances for projects in or near rivers and streams. Permits and approvals are necessary for streambank stabilization, construction, and other earth disturbances on the bank or in the bed of a stream.

It is important to obtain the required approvals and permits before beginning any work. Penalties exist for unauthorized work.

First, contact your town clerk for information about local zoning regulations and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulations that apply to work in the flood plain, and wetlands protection.

Other permit requirements will depend upon the location of your project:







The Ordinary Low Water mark is the New Hampshire/Vermont state line. Permits for actions that could affect the Connecticut River are reviewed by the CRJC local river subcommittee.

A. For projects on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River riverward of the Ordinary Low Water mark, contact NHDES to see if additional permits are required at:

  • Wetlands Bureau, NHDES
    6 Hazen Drive
    Concord, NH 03301
    Phone: (603) 271-2147 -- Fax: (603) 271-6588

B. For projects on the Connecticut River landward of the Ordinary Low Water mark, contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for information about jurisdiction and application procedures at:

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division
    Attn: Marty Abair, Senior Project Manager
    Camp Johnson, Bldg.10-18
    Colchester, VT 05446
    Phone: (802) 655-0334 -- Fax (802) 655-0818



All projects in New Hampshire must be reviewed by the New Hampshire Wetlands Bureau of the Department of Environmental Services, which has been charged by the legislature with protecting the State's submerged lands and wetlands from despoliation and unregulated alteration (RSA 482-A). A Wetlands permit is required to excavate, remove dredge, fill, or build a structure in or on the bank of any surface waters or wetlands in the state. Surface waters include lakes, rivers, brooks and perennial or seasonal streams, but exclude sheet runoff in the absence of a defined channel or wetland vegetation. Projects that significantly expose raw earth may require an Alteration of Terrain permit.


I. Wetlands Bureau Application Process

A. Obtain Application from your Town Clerk or NHDES Wetlands Bureau

B. Primary Requirements of Permit are explained in:

  • NHDES Fact Sheet, "Wetland Permits for Bank Stabilization"
  • Technical Bulletin #WRJ-1991-5

C. Contact for Information:

  • Wetlands Bureau, NHDES
    6 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03302-0095
    Phone: (603) 271-2147 -- Fax: (603) 271-6588

D. Fee Schedule:

  • Minimum filing fee of $50.00 for all Minimum Impact Projects
  • Additional filing fee may be required for Minor or Major Projects at the rate of $ .025/square foot of requested jurisdictional area impact.

E. Additional New Hampshire Compliance Regulations:

  • New Hampshire River Management and Protection Program, RSA 483:
    Projects on all rivers designated under this program, including the Connecticut River, must meet the requirements of the act. Copies of all permit applications requiring NHDES approval are forwarded to the Rivers Program for review by NHDES staff. Contact Rivers Coordinator at 271-1152 (Technical Bulletin NHDES-CO-95-2)
  • Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act, RSA 483-B:
    All projects located on fourth order or higher rivers, plus lakes and great ponds, must comply with the minimum standards of this act which are usually added as a condition for the NH Wetlands Permit. Contact the NH Shoreland Coordinator (271-6876).

II. Site Specific Permit

A. Obtain Permit Application and Information from:

  • Water Supply & Pollution Control Division, NHDES
    6 Hazen Drive, POB 95
    Concord, NH 03302-0095
    Phone: (603) 271-3503 -- Fax: (603) 271-2867

B. Primary Requirements for Permit:

  • Projects with significant alteration of 100,000 sq. ft. or more.
  • Projects with significant alteration of 50,000 sq. ft. or more on rivers which fall under the jurisdiction of the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act. (See above)

C. Fee Schedule:

  • 50,000 - 199,000 sq. ft of disturbance requires a fee of $100. Add $100 for each additional 100,000 sq. ft thereafter.

III. Federal Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit and Section 401 Water Quality Certification

New Hampshire implements a State Program General Permit through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for activities involving dredge or fill in waters of the State and work affecting navigable waters. This excludes certain activities and is generally limited to minor or controversial activities. Projects which require a Section 404 permit from the Corps must also obtain a Section 401 Water Quality Certificate from NHDES Water Supply and Pollution Control Division.

A. Contact for Information:

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division for Permits in NH
    696 Virginia Rd.
    Concord, MA 01742-2751

B. Obtain Water Quality Certificate and Information from:

  • Surface Water Quality Bureau, Water Supply and Pollution Control Division,
    64 N. Main St.
    Concord, NH 03301
    Phone (603)271-2457 -- Fax (603)271-7894

C. Project types:

  • Minimum impact project: work can proceed following receipt of Wetlands permit
  • Minor impact project: work must wait 30 days after Wetlands approval for reply from Army Corps
  • Major impact project: work cannot proceed until after Wetlands Bureau approval and until Army Corps sends written confirmation that the project has been approved.




The Vermont Stream Alteration Law, Title 10, Chapter 41, requires that all stream alteration projects which seek "to change, alter or modify the course, current or cross-section of any water course having a drainage area greater than 10 square miles by movement, fill or by excavation of 10 cubic yards or more of material," require a permit from the Stream Alteration Engineers of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

 I. Stream Alteration Permit

A. Obtain permit application and information from:

  • (For projects located on the Ompompanoosuc River and north AND on the Winooski River and north)
    VT Agency of Natural Resources
    184 Portland Street
    St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
    Phone: (802) 748-8787 -- Fax: (802) 748-6687
  • (For projects located on the White River and south AND on Lewis Creek and south)
    VT Agency Natural Resources
    450 Asa Bloomer Bldg.
    Rutland, VT 05701-5903
    Phone: (802) 786-5906 -- Fax: (802) 786-5915

B. Fee Schedule: -$100 per permit

II. Federal Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit and Section 401 Water Quality Certification

Water Quality Certification is required for all projects regarding discharge and dredged or fill materials in waters of the U.S., regardless of the size of the watershed. Contacts are same as for the stream alteration permits, above.

III. Wetlands Permit

If the proposed dam or pond is located in or near a wetland, a site visit may be necessary. Impacts may be addressed under Title 10 VSA, Chapter 37, Section 905(a), the 401 Water Quality Certification and Act 250.

A. Obtain permit application and information from:

  • Wetlands Coordinator, Water Quality Division
    VT Agency of Natural Resources
    Building 10N, 103 S. Main St.
    Waterbury, VT 05671
    Phone: (802) 241-3770