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Discover
how Wisconsin protects waterways by holding them in trust for everyone to enjoy.
Find
the permits you need for your waterfront property projects.
Learn
about the permit process that protects public waters.

Waterway protection Fords

Fords

Fords

A ford is material, like rocks or timber, that is placed flush with the stream bed to aid vehicles in driving through the water while crossing the stream. The placement of highly moveable materials such as sand, is prohibited in streams.

Another way to cross a stream is either by constructing a culvert or a bridge.

If you are seeking to place a ford as a temporary in-stream crossing for access related to forest management activities a permit may be needed.

Determine permit required

This is a text link version of our fords 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 ford 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 :

Are you a riparian?

If your answer is "Yes,” go to Question 2.

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

You are not eligible for a Section 30.12 structure permit.

Question 2 :

Will the project be located in an area determined to be a Public Rights Feature (PRF)?

If your answer is "Yes,” :

You've answered Yes:

There are no general permits available for this activity to place a ford in a Public Rights Feature. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*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 note that there are additional permit standards you must meet before the department may approve the permit. Please review the additional standards, found in the department’s checklist [PDF] prior to applying for a permit.

Additionally the department has sample drawing [1] [PDF] to help you submit a complete application.

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

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Please use the designated waters tutorial to determine if your project is located in a Public Rights Feature (PRF).

Question 3 :

Is the project located in an area determined to be an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI)?

If your answer is "Yes,” go to Question 4.

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

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Please use the designated waters tutorial to determine if your project is located in an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI).

Question 4 :

Will ford be constructed for agricultural use?

If your answer is "Yes,” go to Question 5.

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

Only fords placed for agricultural use can be placed in an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI) under a general permit. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*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 note that there are additional permit standards you must meet before the department may approve the permit. Please review the additional standards, found in the department’s checklist [PDF] prior to applying for a permit.

Question 5 :

Will the approach road leading up to the ford be located in a wetland?

If your answer is "Yes,” :

You've answered Yes:

Currently the general permits available for fords do not allow the approach road to be located within a wetland. Please apply for an individual permit to place a ford that cannot avoid wetlands. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*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 note that there are additional permit standards you must meet before the department may approve the permit. Please review the additional standards, found in the department’s checklist [PDF] prior to applying for a permit.

Additionally the department has sample drawing [1] [PDF] to help you submit a complete application.

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

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Please use this site to locate wetlands on your property. Once you do this, go back and answer Question 5.

Question 6 :

Does the crossing area of the stream meet ALL of the following?

  • the stream width is less than 100 feet
  • the normal stream depth is less than 2 feet
  • the stream bed does not contain more than 6 inches of soft sediment

If your answer is "Yes,” :

You've answered Yes:

You may qualify for a general permit. To apply for a General Permit. Please visit the General permits page.*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 note that there are additional permit standards you must meet before the department may approve the general permit. Please review the additional standards, found in the department’s checklist [PDF] prior to applying for a permit.

You've answered No:

Currently the general permits available to cross a stream using a ford restrict the size of the stream that can be traversed. Please apply for an individual permit to cross a stream using a ford, where the river is wider than 100ft, deeper than 2ft, and has a mucky bottom. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*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 note that there are additional permit standards you must meet before the department may approve the permit. Please review the additional standards, found in the department’s checklist prior to applying for a permit.

Additionally the department has sample drawing [1] [PDF] to help you submit a complete application.

Exemptions

  • There are no exemptions for fords.

Designated waters

Some waterways have special designation that might affect your permit requirements. Visit our Designated Waters Search, and record any waterway designations that your site may have.

If you have questions about using the designated waters search tool, you may visit our Designated Waters Search Tutorial to learn how.

Laws

Applicable statutes and codes include Section 30.12, Wis. Stats. [PDF exit DNR] and Chapter NR 329, 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 November 04 2014