Soil Erosion Permits

Soil Erosion Permits

Missaukee Conservation District is the permitting and enforcing agency for the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control program within Missaukee County.

Who needs a permit?

Applications are required for all soil disturbances:

  • located within 500 feet of a body of water (river, stream, creek, lake) OR
  • greater than 1 acre of land, no matter the distance to water.

Agricultural activities such as cropping and tilling are exempt. Other farm activities, such as constructing barns, are not exempt and require a permit. Waivers may be granted for projects of smaller size or duration. Our SESC agents Andrea Mayer and Michelle Hill can be reached at 231.839.7193 or and .

Helpful Guidelines for Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Permits:

  • How long does it take to get a permit? Permits are not issued the same day applications are received. A site inspection is required prior to the issuance of permits. Missaukee County has two, part-time inspection agents. Plan ahead and submit your application at least two weeks before you need it. Permits are good for a year and there is no limit to how far in advance you may apply for your permit.
  • Schedule an appointment: Though it is not required, making an appointment with a SESC agent either at your site or our office is beneficial for both the agent and the landowner/contractor.
  • Download your SESC application from the top of the page. Incomplete applications generally lack proper plans to keep sediment out of our water bodies. Answer all questions, and contact our office if you need assistance. Again, we are glad to schedule a time to assist. Submitting incomplete applications will slow your approval process. Landowners or contractors may complete the application. If the contractor or other “designated agent” is signing the application, a letter of consent with the landowner(s) signature is required. See the application packet. 
  • Exemptions: Projects within 500 ft of a lake, river or creek but less than 225 sq ft may be eligible for a waiver. Download your 225 Waiver. You must have a waiver complete before start of your earth change or an after-the-fact permit fee may be charged.
  • Construction on a farm: Read about exemptions and requirements here. Building sites 1 acre or more require a SESC permit–1 acre=43,560 sq. ft.
  • Permits must be applied for prior to obtaining a building permit: Once the landowner/designated agent has the receipt for permit you may go to the building department (Court house annex on Canal Street, 1st block east of Main Street downtown Lake City) with a copy of your permit and can then apply for a building permit.
  • Site Inspections: Missaukee County Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Agent will perform site inspections after receiving a completed application. Permits are not granted without a prior site inspection. Please visit our office for an application at 6180 W. Sanborn Rd. Lake City, or download from the above link & mail in with proper fee.
  • Norwich, Pioneer, Bloomfield, Caldwell and Forest Townships on Creeks feeding into the Manistee River: The Upper Manistee River is part of the Natural Rivers Act and requires an additional permit through Michigan Natural Rivers Program. There is no fee for the Natural Rivers Act permitting process. More information is available by contacting Brian Bury, Upper Manistee River State Zoning Administrator, at 989.732.3541, ext. 5088, or e-mail
  • Lakeshore Activities:  Activities done at or below the Ordinary High Water Mark may require a MDEGLE permit. Sea wall installation and maintenance, rip-rap, permanent docks, and aquatic weed treatment are a few of those activities. Work in wetlands or floodplains also require permits through the MDEGLE. Use of tractors in the lake requires permits from several agencies: it is considered dredging and requires a MDEGLE permit; violators may also be cited for DNR recreational trespass on bottomlands and; and water pollution laws may come into play if the vehicle leaks fluids into the water. Visit our Lake Shorelines page to learn more about how to preserve natural habitats while still enjoying the lake front.

Why are permits needed? Clean water is important! Sediment is considered the leading pollutant in Michigan’s waterways. Fertilizers, petrochemicals, and other pollutants easily attach to sediment particles and are carried into waterways by erosion. Sediments pollute water bodies, covering fish habitat and spawning beds.$50-$100 fees assessed for an earth change begun without a SESC permit: $50 for first offense and $100 for offenses thereafter.

For further information, refer to Missaukee County Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance, passed under Part 91, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act of 1994 PA 451.

Construction projects greater than 1 acre but Less than 5 acres of disturbance are subject to Permit by Rule requirements. 
Click here to visit MDEGLE’s website for requirements and obligations of Permit by Rule law. For sites disturbing one to five acres, the applicant/permittee receives automatic storm water coverage upon the applicant obtaining a Part 91 permit from Missaukee Conservation District. Although the coverage is automatic, the permittee must comply with the requirements of Permit by Rule. Permit-by Rule requires compliance with the SESC permit issued under Part 91 and also requires SESC measures to be inspected weekly and within 24 hours of a significant rain event by a certified storm water operator. The certification materials and testing are available in most MDEGLE Water Resources Division district office in Cadillac.

Construction projects greater than 5 acres of disturbance with a point source discharge to waters of the state require a Notice of Coverage (NOC). Click here to visit MDEGLE’s website for NOC information, requirements and permit application. For sites disturbing five or more acres, the applicant/permittee must obtain a Part 91 permit from Missaukee Conservation District and submit an application for Notice of Coverage to the DEQ Water Resources Division in Cadillac. Along with the NOC application, the applicant/permittee must submit a copy of the SESC permit, approved SESC plan, site location map, and the $400 permit fee.

Contractors, builders, excavation and service providers hired by farms to conduct these activities can be held liable for failure to comply with Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control regulations, per Missaukee County Ordinance, and are subject to fine. Service providers – please help us inform your clients of their legal obligation to comply with Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control laws. 

Guidebooks and Assistance. Need more information on tools available for your project? Call our office or refer to these online resources:

To contact our SESC agents Andrea Mayer and Michelle Hill, please call 231.839.7193 or and .