Michigan Laws, Permits, and Programs

What permits do I need for my forestry project?

  • To determine specific permit requirements, contact the DEQ Environmental Assistance Center or the local district DEQ service center.
  • Whether a permit is required or not, the landowner is responsible for preventing off-site sedimentation

Provide a list and summary of applicable laws/permits for forestry projects near water

  • Part 91 Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC): A permit is required for any earth change that disturbs one or more acres of land OR that is within 500 feet of a lake or stream.  Part 91 is administered and enforced by various state, county, and local governmental agencies. Part 91 Agency guidance by county: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/wrd-sesc-agency-list_539870_7.pdf
  • Part 305 Natural Rivers Act: All forest management activities within a legally designated Natural River RMZ are regulated. Part 305 regulates all development and land uses, and stream crossings that are within 400 feet of a designated stream. Also includes minimum buffer widths for each of the 16 legally designated river systems.  A permit is required before any activities can take place.
  • Part 301 Inland Lakes and Streams: Protects the integrity of the land/water interface. Crossing a permanent or intermittent stream while skidding forest products or transporting them to a mill requires a Part 301 permit.
  • Wild and Scenic Rivers Act: establishes federal protection for designated free-flowing rivers throughout the country. They are designated as “Wild and Scenic Rivers.” This designation regulates the management and control of development on these river systems.  In Michigan, there are 16 Wild and Scenic River systems. The management and regulations for these river systems occur strictly within the administrative boundaries of Michigan’s three National Forests.

Provide a list and summary of forestry related programs in Michigan:

  • MDARD Qualified Forest Program: The purpose of the Qualified Forest Program (QFP) is to encourage landowners to actively manage their privately-owned forests for commercial harvest, wildlife habitat enhancement, and improvement of other non-forest resources. In exchange for managing their forests in a sustainable fashion, the landowner will receive an exemption from the local school operating millage.
  • MDNR Forest Stewardship Program: Provides financial and technical assistance to Michigan's non-industrial private forestland owners. By providing cost share funds for land management planning, sound management practices are promoted that consider elements important to forest health and vigor: soil, water, wildlife, timber, wetland, and other resources and resource values. Once a stewardship management plan is prepared, the landowner may then qualify for assistance in management implementation through other assistance programs

Provide contact information for agencies and other helpful resources