The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a guidance document to aid in interpreting the terms within the Tidal Wetland Land Use Regulations (Regulations) for installing catwalks and docks. It is intended to present a clearer, more easily understood and streamlined permit process for installing catwalks and docks in marine waters. DEC typically issues around 1,900 tidal wetland permits a year in Nassau and Suffolk counties alone with docks and catwalks being two of the largest permit items requested.
The proposed dock guidance provides guidelines for evaluating the compatibility of a project with on-site conditions and facilitating consistency with permit issuance standards. Issues addressed are:
- Avoidance of impact to valuable habitats
- Appropriate water depths and methods for determining them
- Structure use
- Minimizing short-term construction impacts
Since the early 1970s, New York has recognized the importance of tidal wetland areas to marine food production; wildlife habitat; and flood, hurricane, and storm control. The provisions within 6 NYCRR Part 661 of the Regulations apply anywhere tidal flooding occurs on a daily, monthly, or intermittent basis and to upland development in areas adjacent to tidal wetlands.