Corps of Engineers still requires permits for shoreline work

Published July 17, 2012

DETROIT – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District will continue to require permits for many beach grooming activities in Great Lakes Michigan waterways. Recently the state of Michigan made changes to their permitting process, but the Corps’ permitting process is still in place.

The Corps retains jurisdiction over areas of exposed bottomlands of the Great Lakes and will continue to regulate sand leveling and grooming of sand and/or vegetated areas between the federal Ordinary High Water Mark and the water’s edge on the Great Lakes and their connected waters. A list of the waters regulated is available at

The state of Michigan enacted Public Act 247 of 2012 on July 2, 2012 which provides for exemptions to the need for a state permit for certain shoreline management activities. This new Public Act exempts sand leveling, vegetation removal, grooming of sand, removal of debris, and mowing of vegetation between the Ordinary High Water Mark and the water’s edge in Great Lakes waters where the shoreline consists of unconsolidated material predominately composed of sand, rock, or pebbles. The Corps still requires a permit for these activities. However, mowing in these areas remains exempt from the need for a Corps permit.

Those property owners who have obtained Corps authorization for sand leveling and grooming of sand in non-vegetated areas under their previous Regional Permit do not have to reapply for Corps authorization to continue these two activities. The Michigan Regional General Permit was reissued May 25, 2012 and covers many activities in addition to shoreline work. Details are available at

Authorizations for sand leveling and grooming of sand made by using the Corps “Short Form” application have a very quick turn-a-round time and can generally be issued by the Corps within a couple weeks of receipt of a complete application by the applicant.

Homeowners and contractors may also contact the Corps to receive an application package by calling the Detroit District at 313-226-2218. Applicants may submit the permit applications to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Detroit District, Regulatory Office
477 Michigan Avenue, Room 603
Detroit, Michigan 48226-2550

Note: Additional information may be obtained by visiting the Corps web site at:

Lynn Rose

Release no. 171712-02