Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section
The Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section (WSLS) provides permitting services for activities in Delaware’s wetlands, bays, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and other waterways that might require a permit pursuant to Delaware law. These activities include marina construction and operation, as well as the construction of docks and piers, shoreline stabilization projects, dredging, filling, bridge or culvert construction, utility crossings of streams, and other projects that could affect Delaware’s waters and wetlands.
Public Hearings Information
There are three primary regulations that guide these activities and they can be viewed via the following links:
To find out more about Delaware’s laws relating to wetlands and water, please read What is Regulated and Where is it Regulated? or call 302-739-9943. You can also view maps indicating the areas subject to DNREC's Wetlands Regulations through the State-Regulated Wetland Map Index.
Permitting information and forms
To access application forms and instructions, descriptions of the different permit types, find out more about the permitting process and get a list of contractors and consultants click on Permitting information.
Updated policies on foot bridges and duck blinds
The WSLS has updated the section's policies for foot bridges and duck blinds. The purpose of these updates is to clarify policies as related to the statutory exemption of these structures in 7 Del. C., Chapter 66, Wetlands. To read more about these policies, please select from the links below.
About wetlands: Why should we protect them?
In the United States, both public and private wetlands are protected by federal and state laws because of their exceptional value to society and the recognition that maintaining wetland functions is essential to protecting the public interest. Wetlands serve a variety of functions beneficial to the health, safety, and welfare of the general public. Some of the functions that wetlands provide include: flood storage and control, water quality protection, wildlife habitat, habitat for endangered animal and plant species, educational resources, aesthetics and open space, recreation, biomass production, fisheries habitat, and erosion control. While the degree to which a wetland serves these functions varies from wetland to wetland, each wetland works in combination with other wetlands as part of a complex integrated system. Check out the State-Regulated Wetland Map Index to see if you have wetlands that are regulated by the State and the WLSL webpage explaining the difference between State- and Federally-regulated Wetlands.
If you have questions about DNREC's Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section, check out our Frequently asked questions page, or contact our office at (302) 739-9943 and ask for the scientist of the day.
Section Manager: Steven Smailer