Wetlands and Waterways Protection Program

Wetlands provide imp​ortant socio-economic be​​​nefits and ecosystem services such as storing and conveying flood waters, recharging groundwater, improving water quality by filtering and storing nutrients, and providing shoreline protection and critical habitat f​or a multitude of plant and animal species. The Maryland Department of the Environment’s Wetlands and Wa​terways Protection Program protects Maryland wetlands and waterways from loss and degradation. This protection is achieved through the regulation of the draining, dredging and filling of tidal and nontidal wetlands, the nontidal wetland buffer and waterways, including the nontidal​ 100-year floodplain through a permitting or authorization process implemented in close coordination with the federal government (specifically, the Army Corps of Engineers).

While there are ​some exemptions from permitting requirements for certain activities, permits or letters of authorization from the State are generally required if a property owner plans to undertake an activity that results in the draining of a wetland or the addition of fill materials to a State regulated wetland or waterway. Examples of activities which require permits from the Wetlands and Waterways Protection Program include building a new pier, adding a platform or boat lift to an existing pier, dredging a boat slip, putting in a bulkhead, filling in a nontidal wetland or buffer for the construction of a structure such as a shed or the expansion or creation of a patio or driveway, and, creating a stream crossing or putting a utility pipeline under a stream.

The Wetlands and Waterways Protection Program also provides Maryland-regulated floodplain and FEMA Floodplain information to the public. With climate change​ increasing precipitation, sea level rise and flooding in Maryland, protecting and restoring wetlands, waterways, and their buffers will be critical to securing a resilient future for Maryland’s citizens and ecosystems. To learn more about MDE's Water and Science Administration’s detailed climate adaptation goals and strategies please visit the WSA Climate Change site​​.


Tropical Storm/Hurricane​​​ Preparedness

Guidance for Emergency Repairs for Damage Resulting from the October 30, 2021 Storm/High Tide Event (guidance issued November 3, 2021)

Guidance for Emergency Repairs - general (​v. August 2022) ​​- To facilitate emergency ​actions/repairs which impact State-regulated water resources, the Maryland Department of the Environment (“MDE” or “the Department”) highlights these established procedures for conducting emergency repairs under COMAR (D) Construction on Nontidal Waters and Floodplains, Nontidal Wetlands, COMAR 26.24 Tidal Wetlands, and COMAR State Tidal Wetland Licensing Procedures.

Hurricane and Tropical Storm Preparedness tips are also available from the MDE home page.​







Frequently Asked Questions

State Application, Forms and Related Information

​​Marine Contractors Licensing Board (MCLB) and other ​Environmental Boards information

Water Quality Certifications (WQCs)


Past Announcements


Public Notices

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Past Project Information



Interested in conducting a wetland restoration or other conservation activity on your land?

Contact Information

For questions and comments regarding this website, please contact the webmanager.​​​​​​​


Visit the WSA Climate Change website ​​

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