Environmental/Feb 23, 2016

Recent Changes and Permit Exemptions Affecting Michigan’s Part 91 Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC) Program

House Bill 4604, recently passed by the Michigan Legislature and signed into law by Governor Snyder on January 26, 2016, provides permit exemptions under Part 91 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) for certain earth changes that are associated with specific agricultural practices and residential property owner activities. These changes, which become effective on February 25, 2016, provide an exemption from having to obtain a Part 91 SESC permit for the following agricultural practices (provided the activities do not result in/contribute to soil erosion or sedimentation of waters of the state or a sediment discharge off-site):

  • Construction, maintenance or removal of fences and fence lines.
  • Removal of tree/shrub stumps or roots.
  • Installation of drainage tile, irrigation, or electrical lines.
  • Construction/maintenance of one or more ponds, if all the following are met:
    • Earth change is less than 5 acres.
    • Earth change does not result in a stormwater discharge into the waters of the state.
    • Earth change is not part of a larger plan of development.

A residential property owner is exempt from Part 91 SESC permit requirements for the following activities conducted on individual residential property that is owned and occupied by him/her (provided the activities do not result in/contribute to soil erosion or sedimentation of waters of the state or a sediment discharge off-site):

  • Earth change of a minor nature that is stabilized within 24 hours of initial disturbance.
  • Gardening, provided the natural elevation of the area is not raised.
  • Post holes for fencing, decks, utility posts, mailboxes, etc. – if no additional grading/earth change occurs for use of the post holes.
  • Removal of tree/shrub stumps or roots resulting in an earth change not to exceed 100 square feet.
  • All of the following, if SESC controls are implemented and the earth change is stabilized within 24 hours of initial disturbance:
    • Planting of trees, shrubs and similar plants.
    • Seeding/reseeding lawns of < 1 acre, provided the seeded area is ≥ 100 feet from the waters of the state.
    • Seeding/reseeding lawns < 100 feet from the waters of the state, if area to be seeded/reseeded is ≤100 square feet.
    • Temporary stockpiling of soil, sand, or gravel if ≤10 cubic yards is present on the property and is located ≥ 100 feet from the waters of the state.
    • Seawall maintenance of ≤100 square feet.

The activities described above are not exempt from enforcement procedures in the event that soil erosion or sedimentation into the waters of the state occurs, or the activity results in a sediment discharge off-site.

For more information on Michigan’s SESC program, click on the following link:

https://ggtmlaw.com/areas-of-practice/environmental-law/soil-erosion-and-sedimentation-control-sesc/

 

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