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Waterway protection Dredging
If your project involves removal of any material from lake or streambed (muck, sand, gravel, silt, organic material, etc.) a permit may be needed.
Exemptions and permits
Dreding, removal, grooming, etc. of lake and streambed
If you are removing a total of less than 2 cubic yards. Of bed material (about one small dump truck full) in any given year you do not need a permit. So maintaining your pier or boat lift, raking your beach, etc. can be done without a permit if you stay under these yearly limits.
Other special dredging activites that may not require permits include
- Removing a TOTAL of 3 cubic yards of bottom material by hand (manual dredging). This means you can use hand held tools that use no auxillary power to assist you.
Note: Manual removal WILL require a permit in designated Waterways. Please use our Designated Waters tutorial to determine your waterbody designation.
- Removing bottom material from a farm drainage ditch.
Note: A farm drainage ditch MUST have been non-navigable before it was first ditched (no stream history).
Please review the Manual Dredging Checklist at exemptions to determine if your project meets the standards to be exempt from permitting requirements.
If your project is located in a Designated Water, and does not meet the standards to be exempt from permitting, we have many general permits available for projects in Designated Waters. Please visit Water Permits and choose a general permit that most closely fits your project.
If a general permit is not available for your project, please visit Water Permits for individual permits.
- Be aware that for larger dreding projects the department may require sediment sampling under Chapter NR 347.
- If you are applying to dredge a large area and think you may have to do sediment sampling, please read this Guidance Document.
Beach grooming or mowing vegetation
Any motor vehicle driven on a lake bed to groom beaches requires an individual permit. This means permits are needed for beach grooming larger areas. In some cases these areas could be public beaches. Please visit Water Permits to apply for an individual permit.
Permits may also be needed to drive motorized equipment on beaches to manage for invasive plants growing on exposed lake bed. Please visit Beach Maintenance for additional information on managing invasive plants, or visit Water Permits to apply for permits to drive motorized equipment on beaches.
Removal of nuisance deposits
If removal of washed up debris and accumulated plant and animal deposits will cover a large area too time consuming and challenging to do by hand, a general permit is available to use motorized equipment to remove certain types of nuisance deposits. Visit Water Permits to apply online. Please visit Beach Maintenance for additional information.