Bulkheads are man-made vertical shore protection structures installed to withstand the forces of waves or currents. Bulkheads are common structures found along watercourses, especially in residential areas along waterways and in industrial and commercial areas with watefronts. The construction of a new bulkhead or the replacement of an existing one requires an approval from the Department.
Depending upon where in the State your property is located and what (special areas) [\\dep-tcshared\shared\lum\LUR\WebDev\specialareas.html] your project may be impacting, different approvals for the Department may be needed. If you don't know what special areas are on your site, or if you are not sure if your property is located in a (Coastal Area) [V:\lum\LUR\WebDev\cp_main.html] please check out the (before you buy, before you build) [\\dep-tcshared\shared\lum\LUR\WebDev\bybob.html] section of this website for guidance on determining if your site has one of these regulated special areas on it. If you know of, or have an idea of what special areas your proposed project will impact, you can click on any of the tabs above for more information.
(General Permit 1 -- Maintenance and repair of existing features) [V:\lum\LUR\WebDev\fww\fww_gp01.html] is available for the replacement of an exsiting bulkhead that is collapsing or in disrepair. If a new bulkhead is being proposed within freeshwater wetlands, transition areas, or State Open Waters an (Individual Permit) [Link] (IP) is required.
Bulkheads are regulated under the CZM Rules, any bulkhead located outside of the jurisdiction of the CZM Rules are subject to the retaining wall standards of the Flood Hazard Area Rules. There are no PBR’s or general permits associated with retaining walls; the applicant must apply for a Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit.
Construction or reconstruction of a bulkhead, unless qualifying for a Zane exemption generally requires a permit. “Bulkheads” are defined as vertical shore protection structures installed to withstand the forces of waves and currents, not a “revetment” or a “gabion.” If your project includes a revetment or gabions please see the Bank Stabilization topic in Common projects.
See the “Coastal Jurisdiction” section of this website to determine which areas regulated under the Coastal Permit Program rules N.J.A.C. 7:7-1.1 et seq. and the Coastal Zone Management rules N.J.A.C. 7:7E-1.1 et seq. occur on your site. The permits and exemptions available for a project are determined by which jurisdiction applies.
A Zane exemption is available for bulkheads at or below mean high water existing prior to January 1, 1981. This exemption allows replacement of the bulkhead in the original location and to the original height but with modern materials. See N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(d) 6 or 7 for full details.
These general permits may apply to your project
- Coastal General Permit 10 is for installation of a bulkhead on a manmade lagoon. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.10.
- Coastal General Permit 14 is for reconstruction of a legally existing functioning bulkhead. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.14.
- Coastal General Permit 18 is for bulkhead construction and placement of associated fill on a natural waterbody. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.18.
If the project does not comply with an exemption, permit-by-rule or general permit it generally will require a Waterfront Development, CAFRA, and /or Coastal Wetland Individual Permit. Additional information regarding the coastal program can be found on the Coastal Areas section of this website. Please contact us for further assistance.
Tidelands, also known as riparian lands, are all those lands now or formerly flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway; that is to say any land that is currently or was previously covered by tidal waters. The State of New Jersey, and therefore the people of New Jersey, owns all Tidelands except for those to which it has already sold its interest in the form of a riparian grant. It is important to note that the State generally does not own artificial waterways such as lagoons however, the State does claim those lands within a lagoon that were flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway which existed prior to the creation of the lagoon.
Both new and/or replacement bulkheads that are proposed in a tidelands area may require a tidelands license if the activities are taking place at or below the mean high water line of a tidal waterway and/or a tidelands grant if the activities are taking place in an area that is currently landward of the mean high water line but was, at some point, flowed by the tide.
A tidelands license is a short term revocable rental document to use tidelands generally for structures such as docks, bulkhead extensions, mooring piles, and other temporary structures as well as for dredging projects. Licenses are project specific and expire after a finite term ranging from one to ten years. Most licenses may be renewed.
A riparian grant, or tidelands grant, is a deed from the State of New Jersey selling its tidelands. Tidelands grants are generally only issued for lands that have already been filled in and are no longer flowed by the tide.
For more information on tidelands instruments, please see the tidelands section of this website.
For information and instruction on how to determine whether you are in an area that may require either a license or a grant, or for information how to apply for Tideland instruments please see the "Before you Build, Before you Buy" webpage.