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Maryland State Government Maryland Department of the Environment

New Tidal Wetland Regulations for Living Shorelines

Effective February 4, 2013.


Tidal Wetland Regulations for Living Shorelines implement the requirements of the Living Shorelines Protection Act of 2008 passed by the Maryland General Assembly and approved by Governor O'Malley on April 24, 2008.


Key Provisions of the Living Shoreline Regulations 

1)  In general, a shore erosion control project must consist of nonstructural shoreline stabilization measures that preserve the natural environment, i.e. marsh creation or Living Shoreline.

2)  A property owner is not required to use nonstructural shoreline stabilization measures (i.e., marsh creation or Living Shoreline) if:

   a)  A waiver is obtained from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE); or  
b)  The project shoreline has been mapped by MDE as an area appropriate for structural shoreline stabilization measures (i.e., revetment, groin, bulkhead, etc).  These maps are available on MDE's website.

3)  To obtain State authorization to construct a shore erosion control project, a property owner must complete the following documents and submit them to MDE:

     a) A Joint Federal/State Application for the Alteration of any Tidal Wetland in Maryland

    b) A proposed Critical Area Buffer Management Plan

    c) A signed Critical Area Buffer Notification Form; and

    d) If applicable, a Living Shoreline Waiver Request Form approved by MDE.


Living Shoreline Waiver


1)  A property owner may be eligible for a waiver from the requirement to build a nonstructural shore erosion control measure if a project site is not suitable for a Living Shoreline due to excessive erosion, severe high energy conditions, extreme water depths, or the narrow width of the waterway. 

2)  If a project site meets these conditions, a property owner should complete a Living Shoreline Waiver Request Form to help determine whether nonstructural shoreline stabilization measures are infeasible.  A property owner may obtain a Living Shoreline Waiver Request Form by clicking here or by contacting MDE at 410-537-3837.

3)  In addition to completing the Living Shoreline Waiver Request Form, a property owner should schedule a pre-application site visit.  A site visit can be arranged by clicking here, by contacting MDE at 410-537-3837, or by emailing a MDE Project Manager for the appropriate county.

4)  Please be advised that for all shore erosion control projects, a property owner must obtain a State tidal wetlands license or permit and all other applicable Federal, State, or local authorizations before beginning construction.  A completed Living Shoreline Waiver Request Form is not authorization of proposed project or authorization to begin work.