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the permits you need for your waterfront property projects.
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Waterway protection Stream bank erosion control

Stream bank erosion control

Stream bank erosion control

Natural shoreline features provide erosion control in various ways. For example, stream meanders help slow the velocity of water. Vegetation helps stabilize the bank when streams swell with water.

Every shoreline is exposed to different natural events, and human activities that can cause erosion. A small amount of soil erosion may not be a cause for any concern, but intervention may be needed on some shorelines. Please see causes of erosion for more information on lake shore erosion.

If your property is on a river or stream, the information provided will help you learn about the appropriate erosion control methods.

Permits will generally be required to place or repair any any streambank structures (i.e., fiber logs, rock riprap, seawalls, etc.).

Permits are available for different shoreline treatments. The treatment you choose to use on your property is depended on the specific erosion issues you are encountering at your site and your site location. Learn how to determine your site location.

Determine permit required

This is a text link version of our stream bank erosion control interactive question and answer module. If you are seeing this message, you currently have JavaScript disabled or are in compatibility mode while using Internet Explorer. This text version is here to help you understand if you need a permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for your stream bank erosion control project, and if so, which one. Please go through and answer each question. This will help you determine which permit you will need.

Question 1 :

Was your streambank erosion control structure authorized by department permit prior to August 1, 2007?


If your answer is "Yes, and I want to maintain the existing structure,” :

You've answered Yes, and I want to maintain the existing structure:

Your stream bank erosion control structure is still considered authorized, provided the structure is maintained in compliance with all the conditions of the original permit. Any modifications to the structure that were not authorized by the original permit conditions require a new permit.

If your answer is "Yes, but I want to modify or replace the structure,” go to Question 2.

If your answer is "No,” go to Question 3.

Question 2 :

Ok, so you have existing streambank erosion control that needs modification or replacement beyond what was originally approved by the department. Are you replacing a seawall or riprap bank erosion control structure with integrated bank treatment, replacing a seawall or riprap bank erosion control structure with bio-stabilization, or repairing a riprap bank erosion control structure?

Biological shore erosion control (bio-stabilization): any structure that is made up of biological materials. Biological materials are living or organic materials that are biodegradable like native grasses, trees, live stakes and posts, non-treated wood, mats, fiber rolls, etc.

Integrated Bank Treatment : A structure that combines TWO different treatments – inert materials such as rock for toe protection at the base of the bank AND bio-stabilization on the upper ortion of the bank.

Rip Rap: layers of rock including filter material placed on the bed or bank to prevent erosion scour etc.

Seawall: an upright structure that is steeper than 1.5:1 slope and is installed parallel to shore to prevent sliding of the land and to protect adjacent land from waves. These structures are commonly constructed of timber, rock concrete, metal sheet piling and may even have biological components.

You've answered Replacing a seawall or riprap bank erosion control structure with integrated bank treatment.

If your answer is “Replacing a seawall or riprap bank erosion control structure with integrated bank treatment,”:

You may qualify for a general permit. Please visit the General permits page to apply for a "Stream bank erosion control - Replacement of structure with integrated bank treatment", general permit. *Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

You've answered Replacing a seawall or riprap bank erosion control structure with bio-stabilization.

If your answer is “Replacing a seawall or riprap bank erosion control structure with bio-stabilization,”:

You may qualify for a general permit. Please visit the General permits page to apply for a "Stream bank erosion control – Replacement of structure with bio-stabilization", general permit. *Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

You've answered Repairing a riprap bank erosion control structure.

If your answer is “Repairing a riprap bank erosion control structure,”:

You may qualify for a general permit. Please visit the General permits page to apply for a "Stream bank repair of riprap (placed prior to August 1, 2007)", general permit. *Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

Question 3 :

Does your project involve the placement of bio-stabilization, integrated bank treatment or riprap?

If your answer is "Bio-stabilization,” go to Question 4.

If your answer is "Integrated bank treatment,” go to Question 6.

If your answer is "Riprap,” :

You've answered Riprap:

You will need to apply for an individual permit for streambank erosion control.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

Question 4 :

Is your project located on a federal or state designated wild or scenic river?

You've answered Yes.

If your answer is “Yes,”:

You will need to apply for an individual permit for streambank erosion control.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

If your answer is "No” go to Question 5.

You've answered I don't know.

If your answer is “I don't know,”:

Please use our Designated Waters Search online mapping tool to find your location and to determine whether your waterway is a wild or scenic river. Visit the Designated Waters page, find your location, and from the choice of map layers select Priority Navigable Waterways (PNW). Within that layer look for Areas of Special Natural Resources Interest (ASNRI) and under that layer you will find ASNRI Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Question 5 :

Is your project located in the Driftless Area, Prairie Pothole Region, Southeastern Wisconsin Till Plains, Chiwaukee Prairie Region, in an urban watershed, or within a village or city limits?

You've answered Yes.

If your answer is “Yes,”:

You may qualify for a general permit. Please visit the General permits page to apply for a "Stream bank erosion control - Bio-stabilization", general permit. *Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

You've answered No.

If your answer is “No,”:

You will need to apply for an individual permit for Stream bank erosion control.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

You've answered I don't know.

If your answer is “I don't know,”:

Learn how to determine your site location to answer this question.

Question 6 :

Is your project located in the Driftless Area, Prairie Pothole Region, Southeastern Wisconsin Till Plains, or Chiwaukee Prairie Region?



If your answer is "Yes, my project is located in the Driftless Area, Prairie Pothole Region, Southeastern Wisconsin Till Plains, or Chiwaukee Prairie Region,” go to Question 7.

If your answer is "Yes, my project is located in an urban watershed or within a village or city limits,” go to Question 8.

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

You will need to apply for an individual permit for Stream bank erosion control.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Learn how to determine your site location to answer this question.

Question 7 :

Is the Bank Erosion Potential Index (BEPI) equal or greater than 20?

Bank Erosion Potential Index (BEPI) is a measurement of the potential erosion your site may have. The calculation takes into consideration factors such as the type of material the stream bank is made of, the height and slope of the existing stream bank, density of vegetation on the stream bank, location of the deepest part of the channel, and influence of hard structures nearby such as bridges, dams or culverts. The department provides a BEPI worksheet [PDF] to collect this information and come up with a score that is used to determine the type of stream bank erosion control allowed at a site.

You've answered Yes.

If your answer is “Yes,”:

You may qualify for a general permit. Please visit the General permits page to apply for a "Stream erosion control – Integrated bank treatment", general permit. *Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

You've answered No.

If your answer is “No,”:

You will need to apply for an individual permit for Stream bank erosion control.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

Question 8 :

Is the Bank Erosion Potential Index (BEPI) equal or greater than 20, or the bank edge recession equal or greater than 0.5 feet per year?

Bank Erosion Potential Index (BEPI) is a measurement of the potential erosion your site may have. The calculation takes into consideration factors such as the type of material the stream bank is made of, the height and slope of the existing stream bank, density of vegetation on the stream bank, location of the deepest part of the channel, and influence of hard structures nearby such as bridges, dams or culverts. The department provides a BEPI worksheet [PDF] to collect this information and come up with a score that is used to determine the type of stream bank erosion control allowed at a site.

Bank edge recession is a physical measurement of the loss of bank material at your site. Section NR 328.38(3), Wisconsin Administrative Code, provides the methodology for this measurement.

You've answered Yes to either of those.

If your answer is “Yes,” to either of those:

You may qualify for a general permit. Please visit the General permits page to apply for a "Stream erosion control – Integrated bank treatment", general permit. *Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

You've answered No to either of those.

If your answer is “No,”: to either of those

You will need to apply for an individual permit for Stream bank erosion control.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please be aware there may be additional permit standards you must meet. Prior to applying for a permit please review the permit application checklist [PDF].

Also be sure to review the streambank erosion control sample drawings [PDF] for this activity.

Exemptions

  • There are no exemptions for streambank erosion control.

Protect your stream

Federal law requires landowners with project sites that are 1 acre in size or more to obtain stormwater management permits. Visit Water Permits to apply for permits.

All streambank projects must list the type of vegetation and have a detailed vegetation plan.

Laws

Applicable statutes and codes include Section 30.12, Wis. Stats. [PDF exit DNR] and NR 328-Subchapter III, Wis. Adm. Code [PDF exit DNR].

Local permits and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulations may also apply. We advise you to contact your local zoning office and your regional U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office [exit DNR].

Last revised: Tuesday May 12 2015