How Do I Apply For A Wetlands Permit

Tidal Wetlands

To find out if you need a permit for your planned project, you must first file a Joint Permit Application with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Habitat Management Division.  This will begin the review process notifying the Corps of Engineers, the Fairfax County Wetlands Board, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality of the planned activity on your property.  Sources for Additional Information About Wetlands.

If you have questions about your proposed project in relationship to the Wetlands Board’s jurisdiction – that area within mean low water and an elevation above mean low water equal to 1½ times the mean tide range – or if you have any questions about filing a wetlands permit application, contact:

Fairfax County Wetland Board Staff
Department of Planning and Zoning, Planning Division
12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 730
Fairfax, VA  22035-5504
Phone: 703-324-1380, TTY 711

The Wetlands Zoning Ordinance or the Coastal Primary Sand Dune Zoning Ordinance regulates use and development activity in tidal wetlands areas in Fairfax County. Tidal wetlands are valuable natural resources which help to prevent flooding, improve water quality and provide habitat.  Consequently, the Wetlands Board requires mitigation or compensation for wetlands impacts. In addition, the Wetlands Board has adopted a Living Shoreline Policy, which encourages vegetated shoreline stabilizations. The Wetlands Board requires a completed Supplementary Information Form with a wetlands permit request.

Below is a checklist of necessary information for a complete application:

wetlands plan example

Plan View Drawing to a Measurable Scale

  • North arrow
  • Name of waterway
  • Existing structures
  • Benchmarks showing distance to fixed reference points
  • Mean low water and mean high water lines (tidal)
  • Location of vegetated wetlands at the project site
  • Shoreline, property lines, and location of adjacent property owners
  • Ebb and flood (tidal) or direction of the flow (nontidal)
  • Channelward encroachment relative to mean high/mean low water lines
  • Connection with existing bulkhead or riprap structure (if applicable)
  • Proposed backfill
  • Length of revetment

Cross-section Drawing to a Measurable Scale

  • Proposed backfill
  • Mean low water and mean high water levels (tidal)
  • Ordinary high water (nontidal)
  • Existing contours of the shoreline and/or bank
  • Dimensions of proposed revetment
  • Filter cloth
  • Buried toe or riprap apron
  • Proposed grading of existing bank relative to mean high water
  • Vicinity map – The name of the map from which the vicinity map was taken and the exact location of the project site must be included (U.S.G.S. quad sheet, street map or county map is preferred).

Answer the following questions regarding the application.

  1. What will be the average amount of fill material (placed below the plane of mean high water) per linear foot of shoreline? 
  2. How many cubic yards per foot  OR  how many tons per foot?
  3. What type of material will be used for construction of the riprap revetment, such as quarry stone, cinder block, etc.
  4. Estimate the average weight and size of the bottom layer core material.  Estimate the weight and size of the top layer armour material. 
  5. If backfill will be placed landward of the revetment, then describe the composition of the material to be used.
  6. What is the source of the backfill material?
  7. Will any portion of the project be placed on wetlands or subaqueous lands?  If yes, indicate the square footage and the type of area to be affected. 


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