Soil Erosion and Sediment Control 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.


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. PLEASE: Plan ahead and submit your application at least two weeks before you need it.

PROPER SILT FENCE INSTALLATION includes trenching the bottom flap of the fence 6″ into the ground. Improperly installed silt fences are ineffective and will result in inspection violations. See silt fence BMPs (best management practices) and other SESC tools linked below or ask for more information.

Download your SESC Application here. Incomplete applications generally lack proper plans to keep sediment out of our waterbodies. Answer all questions, and contact this office if you need assistance. We are glad to schedule you a time to assist. Submitting incomplete applications will slow your approval process.

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 here. 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.

Beach Tilling and Beach Sanding require permits. Follow this link for information. Tilling and sanding both require a SESC permit. If either activity is done at or below the Ordinary High Water Mark, an additional DEQ permit may be required. Other waterfront activities such as sea wall installation and maintenance, riprap, permanent docks, aquatic weed treatment, activities in wetlands or floodplains and others require permits as well. Get details here. Use of tractors in the lake requires permits from several agencies: it’s considered dredging and requires a DEQ 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.

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. This is accepted via USPS, e-mail, or fax.

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. Laura Quist and Kate Nietling, Missaukee County Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Agents will perform site inspections after receiving a completed application. Permits are not granted without a prior site inspection. Please contact our office for an application at 231-839-7193 or or

Fees. Checks should be made out to Missaukee County.

$15 Application fee
$75 Residential; Projects 1 acre or less; or Beach tilling
$295 Projects greater than 1 acre
$50 Application includes up to 4 sites visits.
If your project requires additional inspections, they will be charged at $50 per inspection.
Add’l fees Projects started without a permit will be charged $50 for first offense, and $100 for each additional offense.

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 Missaukee Conservation District or Brian Bury, Upper Manistee River State Zoning Administrator, at 989.732.3541, ext. 5088, or e-mail

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.

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 DEQ’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 DEQ Water Resources Division district office in Cadillac.

Construction projects greater than 5 acres of disturbance require a Notice of Coverage (NOC). Click here to visit DEQ’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: