DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY  
LAND AND WATER MANAGEMENT  
GREAT LAKES SHORELANDS  
(By authority conferred on the department of environmental quality by section 32312 of  
Act No. 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, as amended, being S324.32312 of the Michigan  
Compiled Laws)  
R 281.21 Definitions.  
Rule 1. (1) As used in these rules:  
(a) "Act" means Part 323 oF Act No. 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, as amended,  
being Section 324.32301 et seq. of the Michigan Compiled Laws, and known as  
shorelands protection and management.  
(b) "Alteration of vegetation" means to change the natural density and composition  
of plants by human activity such as mowing, cutting, clearing, spraying, burning,  
trimming, thinning, and other means.  
(c) "Erosion hazard line" means the line along the shoreland that is the landward edge  
of the zone of active erosion or the line where the 583.0 feet international Great Lakes  
datum contour on Lake Michigan, the 582.2 feet international Great Lakes datum  
contour on Lake Huron, or the 603.3 feet international Great Lakes datum contour on  
Lake Superior meets the shoreland, whichever is furthest landward.  
(d) "High bluff" means a bluff or dune that is more than 25 feet in height measured  
from the appropriate elevation contour set forth in the definition of erosion hazard line.  
(e) "Low bluff" means a bluff or dune that is 25 feet or less in height measured from  
the appropriate elevation contour set forth in the definition of erosion hazard line.  
(f) "Nonconforming structure" means a permanent structure which does not conform  
to the required setback distance at the time of designation or which became  
nonconforming due to erosion or became nonconforming due to a change in the required  
setback distance. Permanent structures that are constructed in violation of these rules  
shall not be considered to be nonconforming structures.  
(g) "One hundred-year flood" means a flood that has a l% chance of being equaled or  
exceeded in any given year.  
(h) "Parcel" means a continuous area or acreage of land that is under the same  
ownership at the time of designation.  
(i) "Permanent structure" means any 1 of the following structures that is erected,  
installed, or moved on a parcel of property:  
(i) A residential building.  
(ii) A commercial building.  
(iii) An industrial building.  
(iv) An institutional building.  
(v) A mobile home.  
(vi) Accessory and related buildings.  
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(vii) A swimming pool or deck that has a roof or walls.  
(viii) Septic systems.  
(ix) Tile fields.  
(x) Other waste-handling facilities.A permanent structure shall be considered small if it  
has a foundation size of 3,500 square feet or less and less than 5 individual living units.  
All other permanent structures shall be considered large. "Permanent structure" does not  
include recreational vehicles, travel trailers, swimming pools, or decks constructed on  
pilings if the pool or deck does not have a roof or walls. A "Permanent Structure" also  
does not include separate appurtenant structures which have less than 225 square  
feet, which are used for picnicking or storing of recreational or lawn equipment, and  
which are constructed in a manner that facilitates easy removal. The appurtenant  
structure shall not have a permanent foundation and shall not be used as a residential  
facility.  
(j) "Projected recession distance" means the distance, in feet, determined by the  
department under R 281.22.  
(k) "Readily moveable structure" means a small permanent structure which is designed,  
sited, and constructed to accomplish relocation at a reasonable cost relative to other  
structures of the same size and construction. Access to and from the site shall be of  
sufficient width and acceptable grade to permit the structure to be relocated. New  
construction and installations shall meet the following criteria to be considered  
readily moveable structures:  
(i) The buildings shall be on pilings, a basement, or crawl space. Except as noted in  
paragraph (ii) of this subdivision, a slab-on-grade foundation does not meet this  
criterion.  
(ii) Above-grade walls shall be stud wall or whole log construction. Above- grade  
walls that are constructed of masonry, including stone walls, concrete poured, or  
concrete block walls do not meet this criterion. Existing permanent structures shall be  
considered readily moveable structures if the cost of relocation landward of the required  
setback distance is not more than 25% of the replacement cost of the structure or if  
the existing structure meets the criteria for new construction in this subdivision. A 1- or  
2-car garage which is bolted to a slab foundation and which does not have plumbing or  
interior walls is a readily moveable structure if it meets the remainder of the  
requirements specified in this subdivision. Septic systems, tile fields, or other waste-  
handling facilities are not readily moveable structures.  
(l) "Required setback distance" means the least distance a permanent structure can  
be constructed from the erosion hazard line without a special exception. The required  
setback distance is calculated using the following criteria:  
(i) For low bluffs, the required setback distance shall be at the projected recession  
distance from the erosion hazard line.  
(ii) For high bluffs, the required setback distance is calculated by adding 1.0 to the  
product of the percentage points of slope over 25% and 0.05 to a maximum of 2.O. The  
answer is multiplied by the projected recession distance in feet. The following table  
shows sample calculations using this formula:  
Required Setback  
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Percent Slope 1.0 (Percent Slope over 25% x 0.05) Multiplier 25 1.0+ (0 x 0.05) = 1  
30 1.0+ (5 x 0.05) = 1.25 35 1.0+ (10 x 0.05) = 1.5 40 1.0+ (15 x 0.05) = 1.75  
45 1.0+ (20 x 0.05) = 2.0  
The slope of the bluff or dune is measured over a 50-foot distance on the lower portion  
of the lakeward facing slope of the dune or bluff.  
(iii) The required setback distance shall not be greater than the projected recession  
distance from the top of the lakeward facing slope of a dune or bluff.  
(iv) For bluffs and dunes which have slopes of more than 60% and which are more than  
100 feet in elevation above the appropriate lake elevation set forth in the definition of  
erosion hazard line, the required setback distance shall be established not less than 30 feet  
landward of the lakeward facing slope of the dune or bluff.  
(m) "Structure zone" means an area within an environmental area where a permit  
under this part is not required to engage in the activities specified in R 281.23(6).  
(n) "Setback line" means the line which is the required setback distance landward of  
the erosion hazard line and which is the lakeward limit for the construction of  
permanent structures without a special exception.  
(o) "Substandard parcel" means a lot or parcel of record or a lot or parcel which is  
described in a land contract or deed that is executed and delivered before the designation  
of a high-risk erosion area and which does not have adequate depth to provide the  
required setback distance from the erosion hazard line for a permanent structure.  
“Substandard Parcel” also means those lots which are legally created after the designation  
of a high-risk erosion area and which have sufficient depth to meet setback  
requirements for permanent structures, but which subsequently become substandard  
due to erosion processes or become substandard due to a change in the required  
setback distance.  
(p) "Wetland-oriented birds" means any of the following:  
(i) Waterfowl.  
(ii) Shorebirds.  
(iii) Gulls.  
(iv) Terns.  
(v) Herons.  
(vi) Rails.  
(vii) Bitterns.  
(viii) Other birds associated with coastal or wetland areas.  
(q) "Wetland-oriented mammals" means any of the following:  
(i) Muskrats.  
(ii) Mink.  
(iii) Beavers.  
(iv) Otter.  
(v) Other mammals associated with coastal or wetland habitats.  
(r) "Zone of active erosion" means the area of the shoreland where the disturbance or  
loss of soil and substrate has occurred with sufficient frequency to cause unstable  
slopes or prevent vegetation of the area.  
(2) The terms defined in the act have the same meanings when used in these rules.  
History: 1979 AC; 1981 AACS; 1992 AACS; 1998-2000 AACS.  
Page 3  
R 281.22 High-risk erosion areas.  
Rule 2. (1) Not less than 30 days before the designation of a high-risk erosion area,  
the department shall mail predesignation letters to the affected landowners of record  
as shown in the last assessment rolls. The letters shall explain that the property is  
being  
considered  
for designation as a high-risk erosion area and shall invite  
comments from the affected landowners. The department shall schedule a meeting  
before the designation is made to explain the proposed designation to property owners  
and local governmental agencies.  
(2) The department shall designate a high-risk erosion area upon its finding that  
recession of the landward edge of the zone of active erosion has been occurring at an  
average annual rate of 1 foot or more per year, based on a minimum period of 15  
years. Similar recession rates along a reach of shoreland shall be grouped and an  
average calculated for each reach. The designation shall contain the projected  
recession distance used to establish the setback line for any future permanent  
structure. The projected recession distance shall be based on a projected 30-year period  
of recession for small permanent structures and a projected 60-year period for large  
permanent structures. An additional 15 feet shall be included in the  
recession distance to provide protection from severe  
projected  
short-term erosion losses. This additional 15 feet shall replace, and not be in addition to,  
the 15 feet previously added due to recession rate variability. If this change results  
in an increase in the projected recession distance, it shall not be effective until the  
landowner receives written notice.  
(3) In designating a high-risk erosion area, the department shall notify the landowner  
of record and the local government agency affected thereby. The notice of designation  
shall be delivered personally or sent, by certified mail, to the landowner of record at  
the address given in the last assessment roll.  
(4) The notice of designation to affected landowners and local governmental  
agencies shall include all of the following information:  
(a) The authority and reasons for the designation of high-risk erosion areas.  
(b) A description, graphic or otherwise, of the limits of the high-risk erosion area.  
(c) An explanation of any regulatory measures which may be required in the high-  
risk erosion area and the regulatory role of the local governmental agency.  
(d) The procedure by which the designation may be appealed.  
(5) The department shall consider additional high-risk erosion areas as may be  
proposed by local governmental agencies, citizens, or interested groups.  
(6) A high-risk erosion area designation may be removed or the projected recession  
distance may be modified on an individual parcel or parcels upon the presentation of  
topographic surveys,  
low-altitude,  
vertical,  
aerial photographs, or other  
documentation which the department can readily use to  
determine average annual recession rates. Upon department acceptance of the surveys,  
photographs, or other documentation as accurate, the department will determine  
an updated recession rate or rates for the affected parcel or parcels. If the updated  
data results in a modification of the recession rate or rates, consistent with the provisions  
of subrule (2) of this rule, the projected recession distance shall be modified or the  
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designation shall be removed for the affected area within 60 days. Requests for  
modification can only be made once every 5 years or upon the sale of the property.  
(7) In the absence of an approved local ordinance enacted pursuant to the provisions  
of sections 7, 8, 9, and 10 of the act, any person or local governmental agency  
proposing to erect, install, move, or enlarge a permanent structure on a parcel, any  
portion of which is in a designated high-risk erosion area, shall submit a permit  
application to the department for its review. The permit application shall contain all  
of the following information:  
(a) A legal description of the property.  
(b) A description of the proposed permanent structure.  
(c) A sketch of the proposed site which shows the location of the proposed  
permanent structure in relation to the location of the property lines and prominent  
features.  
(d) The signature and address of the applicant.  
(8) A permit application to erect, install, or move a permanent structure in a  
designated high-risk erosion area shall be approved if  
the proposed permanent  
structure meets or exceeds all of the following requirements:  
(a) The proposed permanent structure or addition is landward of the setback line.  
(b) Small permanent structures that are erected, installed, or moved into the area  
between the setback line and a distance twice the required setback distance shall be  
readily moveable structures, except for those small permanent structures located on  
parcels which do not have access of sufficient width and acceptable grade to allow for  
relocation.  
(c) A permanent structure shall not be erected, installed, or moved lakeward of the  
setback line in a high-risk erosion area without a special exception, as provided by  
subrules (9) and (10) of this rule.  
(d) The proposed permanent structure meets the requirements of other applicable  
state laws, including the provisions of Act No. 222 of the Public Acts of 1976, as  
amended, being S281.651 et seq. of the Michigan Compiled Laws.  
(e) Review and approval of the structure design to ensure the building is a readily  
moveable structure shall be incorporated into the department permit process.  
(9) A special exception shall be granted and a portion of the required setback  
distance waived to erect, install, or move  
a
small readily moveable structure  
lakeward of the setback line on a substandard parcel if all of the following provisions  
are complied with:  
(a) If a sanitary sewer is not used, the septic system, tile field, or other waste-  
handling facility shall be located at least as far landward as the lakeward edge of the  
building.  
(b) The readily moveable structure shall be located as far landward of the erosion  
hazard line as local zoning restrictions allow.  
(c) The readily moveable structure shall be designed and constructed in accordance  
with proper engineering standards and building moving restrictions applicable to  
the subject area. Review and approval of the design to ensure that the building is a  
readily moveable structure shall be incorporated into the department permit process.  
(d) The readily moveable structure is not less than 30 feet landward of the erosion  
hazard line and is not located on a lakeward facing slope of 60% or more.  
Page 5  
(e) The readily moveable structure meets the requirements of other applicable state  
laws, including the provisions of Act No. 222 of the Public Acts of 1976, as  
amended, being S281.651 et seq. of the Michigan Compiled Laws.  
(10) If a substandard parcel does not have access to and from the structure site of  
sufficient width and acceptable grade to erect or move a readily moveable structure, or  
if the application is for a large permanent structure on a substandard parcel, a special  
exception shall be granted to utilize a shore protection structure in place of a portion of  
the required setback distance. The special exception shall be granted only if all of the  
following provisions are complied with:  
(a) If a sanitary sewer is not used, the septic system, tile field, or other waste-  
handling facility shall be located at least as far landward as the building.  
(b) The permanent structure shall be located as far landward of the erosion hazard  
line as local zoning restrictions allow and shall be located landward of the erosion  
hazard line.  
(c) The shore protection structure shall be designed to meet or exceed a 20-year storm  
event at the site for small permanent structures and a 50-year storm event at the site  
for large permanent structures and a professional engineer shall certify that the  
structure has been designed and will be constructed in accordance with these  
standards. If the structure is constructed in the waters of the Great Lakes or lies  
below the ordinary high watermark, a permit pursuant to the provisions of Act No.  
247 of the Public Acts of 1955, as amended, being S322.701 et seq. of the Michigan  
Compiled Laws, shall be obtained for the shore protection structure.  
(d) The permanent structure shall be a minimum of 30 feet from the shore protection  
structure. If the bluff or dune is unstable due to height, slope, wind erosion, or  
groundwater seepage, the department may require a setback of more than 30 feet or an  
engineered bluff stabilization plan, or both. In areas of steep slopes, a greater setback  
may be necessary to provide access for maintenance equipment and a safe building  
site.  
(e) If the application is for a large permanent structure the department shall require  
compliance with both of the following provisions:  
(i) The establishment of an escrow account to maintain the approved shore  
protection structure or bluff stabilization, or both. The amount required in the escrow  
account shall be reasonable and based on the project design.  
(ii) Notice in the disclosure statement or deed that a portion of the required setback  
distance has been waived.  
(f) The proposed permanent structure meets the requirements of other applicable  
state laws, including the provisions of Act No. 222 of the Public Acts of 1976, being  
S281.651 et seq. of the Michigan Compiled Laws.  
(11) A special exception shall be granted, and a portion of the required setback  
distance waived, for the installation of an approved shore protection project if all  
of the following conditions are met:  
(a) A local agency is contractually responsible for the perpetual care of the shore  
protection structure. The responsibility will be defined in a written agreement  
between the department and the local agency. The local agency shall agree to perform  
maintenance or repairs to maintain the integrity of the shore protection. The local  
agency shall submit to the department a financial plan for maintaining the structure.  
Page 6  
(b) The shore protection structure is designed and constructed to meet or exceed a 50-  
year storm standard. The design and construction shall be certified by a professional  
engineer. If the structure is constructed in the waters of the Great Lakes or lies below  
the ordinary high watermark, a permit pursuant to the provisions of Act No. 247 of the  
Public Acts of 1955, as amended, being S322.701 et seq. of the Michigan Compiled  
Laws, shall be obtained for the shore protection structure.  
(c) A favorable finding is made by the local agency, with input by the department,  
that a greater public good exists to support the use of a shore protection structure  
rather than a natural shoreline in terms of all of the following:  
(i) The preservation of fish and wildlife habitat.  
(ii) The value to the entire community of a natural shoreline as opposed to the value to  
the entire community of additional development that is made possible by the shore  
protection.  
(iii) The impact of the loss of sand movement along the shoreline.  
(iv) The impact on erosion of land in the immediate area of the shore protection  
structure.Before making the finding, the local agency shall hold a public hearing.Notice  
shall be sent to all riparians within 300 feet of the proposed shore protection structure  
and to the department.  
(d) A favorable finding is made by the department that a greater public good exists to  
support the use of a shore protection structure rather than a natural shoreline in terms of  
all of the following:  
(i) The preservation of fish and wildlife habitat.  
(ii) Protection of the public trust.  
(iii) The impact of the loss of sand movement along the shoreline.  
(iv) The impact on the erosion of land in the immediate area of the shore protection  
structure.  
(e) There is a minimum of 30 feet from the shore protection to any permanent  
structure. If the bluff or dune is unstable due to height, slope, wind erosion, or  
groundwater seepage, the department may require a setback of more than 30 feet or an  
engineered bluff or dune stabilization plan, or both. In areas of steep slopes, a  
greater setback may be necessary to provide access for maintenance equipment and a  
safe building site. If the parcel has existing permanent structures which are less than 30  
feet from the proposed shore protection, there shall be sufficient access to permit  
the maintenance and repair of the shore protection.  
(f) Shore protection is already a common feature of the shoreline lying within 1,000  
feet of the proposed shore protection structure.  
(12) A permit application to make an addition to an existing permanent structure in a  
designated high-risk erosion area shall be approved if the addition meets or exceeds the  
required setback distance.  
(13) A permit application to make an addition to an existing readily moveable  
structure which is not in compliance with the required setback distance of a  
designated high-risk erosion area shall be approved if all of the following provisions are  
complied with:  
(a) The existing building with the addition will meet the definition of a readily  
moveable structure.  
Page 7  
(b) The proposed addition does not reduce the permanent structure's distance from  
the erosion hazard line.  
(c) On low bluffs, the proposed addition is not less than 20 feet landward of the  
erosion hazard line.  
(d) On high bluffs, the existing permanent structure and the proposed addition are  
not less than 30 feet landward of the erosion hazard line.  
(14) An application to make an addition to an existing small nonconforming  
permanent structure which is not a readily moveable structure shall be approved  
if, at the date of construction, the provisions of either subdivision (a) or (b) of this  
subrule and the provisions of either subdivision (c) or (d) of this subrule are  
complied with as follows:  
(a) The total of all floor space added shall not exceed 25% of the foundation size  
of the permanent structure. The foundation size shall be determined as of the time the  
permanent structure became nonconforming. When the 25% limit on additions has been  
reached, no further additions can be made for the remaining life of the structure. The  
addition shall not reduce the permanent structure's distance from the erosion hazard  
line.  
(b) The addition shall meet the definition of a readily moveable structure and the  
addition shall be on the landward side of the original permanent structure. A permit  
may only be issued if the property owner, as a condition for permit, agrees to relocate the  
readily moveable portion of the permanent structure to a location landward of the  
setback line when so ordered by the department. The department may make such an  
order only when the foundation of the existing structure is undermined by erosion.  
(c) On low bluffs, the proposed addition is not less than 20 feet landward of the  
erosion hazard line.  
(d) On high bluffs, the existing small permanent structure and the addition are not  
less than 30 feet landward of the erosion hazard line.  
(15) If a nonconforming structure deteriorates or becomes damaged, it may be  
restored to its condition before the deterioration or damage if the repair cost is not more  
than 60% of the replacement value. If the cost of restoring the nonconforming structure  
is more than 60%,  
but  
less than 100%, of its replacement value, it may be  
reconstructed if all of the following conditions are met:  
(a) The permanent structure was damaged by a force other than erosion.  
(b) The permanent structure, if rebuilt in its existing location, would be not less than 20  
feet landward of the erosion hazard line.  
(c) The reconstructed building would be a readily moveable structure.If the building is  
100% destroyed or declared a total loss for insurance purposes, the requirements for  
new permanent structures shall apply.  
(16) If a permanent structure is relocated, all construction materials, including  
foundations, shall be removed or properly disposed of as a part of the moving operation.  
(17) After the effective date of these rules, the slope and height of the dune or bluff  
shall not be artificially altered to affect the setback requirement under these rules  
unless the alteration is in compliance with a permit issued pursuant to the provisions of  
Act No. 347 of the Public Acts of 1972, as amended, being S281.101 et seq. of the  
Michigan Compiled Laws, and Act No. 247 of the Public Acts of 1955, as  
amended, being S322.701 et seq. of the Michigan Compiled Laws, if the alteration or  
Page 8  
fill extends into the waters of the Great Lakes or below the ordinary high watermark  
elevation.  
(18) Not more than 60 days after receipt of a complete permit application, the  
department shall send notice of its approval or disapproval to the applicant. The  
reasons for disapproval shall be stated and sent by certified mail. A permit application  
which does not require field investigation shall be processed within 20 days.  
(19) Approval of a permit does not exempt the applicant from complying with other  
statutes, ordinances, or rules and regulations.  
(20) Any aggrieved party who contests the designation of a high-risk erosion area,  
the disapproval of a permit application, or the increase in a projected recession distance  
shall be granted a hearing if a petition is filed with the department not more than 60  
days after the designation letter, the notice of disapproval, or the notice of increase  
in projected recession distance is sent. Such petition shall be sent to the director of the  
Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 30028, Lansing, Michigan 48909. The  
hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Act No. 306 of the  
Public Acts of 1969, as amended, being S24.201 et seq.of the Michigan Compiled Laws.  
(21) The landowner of record and the local governmental agency shall be sent a  
notice, by certified mail, if the high-risk erosion area designation is removed.  
(22) The department shall update shoreland recession studies every 10 years to  
reflect varying lake levels and changes in erosion rates. Areas of the shoreland having  
updated long-term recession rates below one foot per year shall have the high-risk  
erosion area designation removed by the department. The department shall notify  
affected property owners and local units of government of changes in projected  
recession distances as a result of updated information. Notifications to property  
owners shall be sent by certified mail to the address listed in the last tax assessment  
roll.  
(23) If the local unit of government has an approved ordinance enacted pursuant to  
the provisions of section 7, 8, 9, or 10 of the act, a period of 1 year from notification by  
the department of any change in setback requirements shall be provided to permit  
the local unit to amend the ordinance to meet the revised setback requirements.  
(24) If the department determines that the requirements set forth in these rules are  
not being upheld by a local unit of government which has an approved ordinance, the  
department shall contact the local agency to identify, discuss and attempt to resolve  
any problems. If the problem cannot be informally resolved, the department shall  
then notify the community, in writing, of its determination. The notice shall contain  
the specific reasons why the department believes the local unit of government has not  
upheld the approved ordinance. The local unit of government shall be provided a period  
of 60 days to respond to the department. If the department further determines that  
the local unit of government has not made sufficient changes to its ordinance  
administration or otherwise explained its actions, the department shall withdraw its  
approval and resume its high-risk erosion area permitting authority within the  
jurisdiction.  
(25) The setbacks established by the department shall not be construed as limiting local  
units of government from establishing larger setbacks.  
(26) All high-risk erosion area designations in existence on the effective date of  
these rules shall remain in full force and effect.  
Page 9  
History: 1979 AC; 1981 AACS; 1992 AACS.  
R 281.23 Environmental areas.  
Rule 3. (1) In determining whether an area is necessary for the preservation and  
maintenance of fish, all of the following uses shall be considered:  
(a) Spawning, which is the placement and fertilization of eggs by fish for the  
propagation of young fish.  
(b) Nursery, which is the utilization of an area by young fish as a sheltered habitat  
in which to feed and grow.  
(c) Feeding, which is the process of obtaining and ingesting plant or animal matter  
necessary for maintaining growth and life functions.  
(d) Protection, which is the utilization of an area as escape cover from predators or  
unsuitable environmental conditions.  
(e) Migration, which is a daily or seasonal movement.  
(2) In determining whether an area is necessary for the preservation and maintenance  
of wildlife, all of the following uses by wetland-oriented birds and wetland-oriented  
mammals shall be considered:  
(a) Breeding, which is the process of courting, pairing, and mating.  
(b) Nesting, which is the process of laying, incubating, and hatching eggs.  
(c) Rearing of young, which is the feeding and protection of young.  
(d) Feeding, which is the process of obtaining and ingesting plant or animal matter  
necessary for maintaining growth and life functions.  
(e) Resting, which is a period of inactivity in the daily routine or seasonal  
migration.  
(3) Not less than 30 days before designation of environmental areas, the department  
shall mail predesignation letters to affected landowners of record as shown in the last  
assessment rolls. The letter shall explain that the property is being considered for  
designation as an environmental area and  
shall invite comments from the affected landowners. The department shall schedule a  
meeting before designation to explain the proposed designation to property owners and  
local governmental agencies.  
(4) The department shall designate environmental areas determined to be necessary  
for the preservation and maintenance of fish or wildlife, or both. The department shall  
personally deliver the notice of designation or send it by certified mail to the landowner  
of record at the address given in the last assessment roll and to the local governmental  
agency.  
(5) The notice of designation to affected landowners and local governmental agencies  
shall include all of the following information:  
(a) The authority and reasons for designation of environmental areas.  
(b) A description or map of the limits of the environmental area.  
(c) An explanation of any regulatory measures that may be required in  
environmental areas and the regulatory role of the local governmental agency.  
(d) The procedure by which the designation may be appealed.  
Page 10  
(6) The following shoreland uses in an environmental area require a permit from the  
department in accordance with these rules or from a local governmental agency  
under an ordinance approved by the department:  
(a) Dredging, filling, grading, or other alterations of the soil.  
(b) Alteration of natural drainage, but not including the reasonable care and  
maintenance of established drainage improvement works. A permit is not required for  
maintenance of existing dikes.  
(c) Alteration of vegetation utilized by fish or wildlife, or both, for the uses covered in  
subrules (1) and (2) of this rule. A permit may be issued if the department finds that  
the alteration of vegetation is dependent upon being located in an environmental area,  
no other feasible and prudent alternatives exist, and that the alteration will not  
adversely impact essential fish or wildlife habitat. A permit is not required for the  
following:  
(i) The removal of tree branches that threaten existing permanent structures or  
public safety.  
(ii) The pruning of trees that have a diameter at breast height of 3 inches or more for a  
view of a Great Lake if the area being pruned does not exceed 40 feet in width and 10  
feet above ground level.  
(iii) Maintenance of previously permitted trails and boardwalks through  
environmental areas. Maintenance is limited to the trail or boardwalk surface to a  
height of 10 feet above the ground.  
(d) The placement of permanent structures.  
(7) Farming of lands within the environmental area is allowed without a permit if all  
of the following provisions are complied with:  
(a) Artificial draining, diking, dredging, or filling is not used.  
(b) The natural contour of the land is not altered.  
(c) Only normal farming implements and generally accepted agricultural practices  
are used.  
(d) The environmental area is utilized by a person who is engaged in the business of  
farming, and the land is to be used for the production and harvesting of agricultural  
products.  
(8) The pumping of water into an environmental area is allowed without a permit.  
(9) A structure zone that is not more than 12,000 square feet shall be delineated for  
all parcels of land which are totally included within the boundaries of an  
environmental area at the time of designation. Structure zones will typically be located  
adjacent to or in proximity to existing roadways, within upland ridges or previously  
disturbed areas, and to minimize human disturbance to surrounding fish and wildlife  
habitat. The structure zone shall be configured to minimize fragmentation of the  
environmental areas.If a parcel has less than 12,000 square feet of land outside  
the environmental area, then a structure zone shall be delineated which, in  
conjunction with the land outside the environmental area, shall total 12,000 square feet.  
Use of a structure zone is subject to all other statutes, ordinances, and rules and  
regulations.  
(10) The department shall consider additional environmental areas as may be proposed  
by local governmental agencies, citizens, or interested groups.  
Page 11  
(11) In the absence of an approved zoning ordinance enacted under sections 7,8,9, and  
10 of the act, any person or local governmental agency proposing one of the uses  
regulated in subrule (6) of this rule outside the structure zone or proposing a change in  
the location of a structure zone shall submit to the department a permit application for  
the proposed use. The permit application shall contain all of the following:  
(a) A legal description of the property.  
(b) A drawing of the site with the proposed project clearly shown.  
(c) A detailed description of the proposed project.  
(d) The signature and address of the applicant.  
(12) A permit application, as described in subrule (11) of this rule, shall be approved if  
both of the following conditions are satisfied:  
(a) The adverse effects to the uses described in subrules (1) and (2) of this rule are  
minimal and are mitigated to the maximum extent feasible.  
(b) A feasible and prudent alternative to the proposed plan is not available.  
(13) Not more than 60 days after receipt of a permit application, the department  
shall send to the applicant, by certified mail, a notice of its approval or disapproval. In  
case of disapproval, the department shall state the reasons for disapproval. The  
department shall process a permit application that does not require field investigation  
within 20 days.  
(14) Approval of a permit does not exempt the applicant from complying with other  
statutes, ordinances, and rules and regulations.  
(15) Any aggrieved party that contests the designation of an environmental area or the  
disapproval of a permit application shall be granted a hearing if the party files a petition  
with the department not more than 60 days after the designation letter or the notice of  
disapproval is sent. The party shall send the petition to the director of the Department of  
Environmental Quality, P.O.BOX 30458, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7958. The  
department shall conduct the hearing in accordance with sections 71 to 87 of Act No.  
306 of the Public Acts of 1969, as amended, being ''24.271 to 24.287 of the Michigan  
Compiled Laws, and R 299.3071 to R 299.3081 of the Michigan Administrative Code.  
(16) The department shall send the landowner of record and the local governmental  
agency a notice by certified mail if the environmental area designation is removed.  
(17) All environmental area designations in existence on the effective date of these rules  
shall remain in full force and effect.  
History: 1979 AC; 1981 AACS; 1998-2000 AACS.  
R 281.24 Flood risk areas.  
Rule 4. (1) Any area which is within the 100-year floodplain of a Great Lake or a  
connecting waterway, as identified in any of the approved floodplain delineation  
studies set forth in this subrule, is designated as a flood risk area. The following  
floodplain delineation studies are adopted in these rules by reference:  
(a) Flood insurance study, city of Algonac, Michigan, St. Clair county, United States  
department of housing and urban development, federal insurance administration,  
April, 1977.  
Page 12  
(b) Flood insurance study, township of Bangor, Michigan, Bay county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, January, 1979.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(c) Flood insurance study, township of Berlin, Michigan, Monroe county, federal  
emergency management agency, federal insurance administration, May 3, 1982.  
(d) Flood insurance study, charter township of Brownstown, Michigan, Wayne  
county, federal emergency management agency, federal insurance administration,  
February 16, 1982.  
(e) Flood insurance study, township of Caseville, Michigan, Huron county, United  
States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance administration,  
February, 1977.  
(f) Flood insurance study, township of Chesterfield, Michigan, Macomb county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, January, 1978.  
(g) Flood insurance study, township of Clay, Michigan, St. Clair county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, June, 1978.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(h) Flood insurance study, township of East China, Michigan, St. Clair county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, January, 1978.  
(i) Flood insurance study, city of East Tawas, Michigan, Iosco county, United States  
department of housing and urban development, federal insurance administration,  
September, 1977.  
(j) Flood insurance study, township of Erie, Michigan, Monroe county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, March, 1978.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(k) Flood insurance study, city of Escanaba, Michigan, Delta county, United States  
department of housing and urban development, federal insurance administration,  
September, 1977.  
(l) Flood insurance study, village of Estral Beach, Michigan, Monroe county,  
federal emergency management agency, federal insurance administration, May 2,  
1983.  
(m) Flood insurance study, township of Ford River, Michigan, Delta county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, June, 1977.  
(n) Flood insurance study, township of Fort Gratiot, Michigan, St. Clair county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, June, 1978.  
(o) Flood insurance study, township of Fraser, Michigan, Bay county, federal  
emergency management agency, federal insurance administration, September, 1979.  
(p) Flood insurance study, township of Frenchtown, Michigan, Monroe county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, March, 1977.  
(q) Flood insurance study, city of Gibraltar, Michigan, Wayne county, United States  
department of housing and urban development, federal insurance administration,  
December, 1978.  
Page 13  
(r) Flood insurance study, city of Gladstone, Michigan, Delta county, United States  
department of housing and urban development, federal insurance administration,  
September, 1977.  
(s) Flood insurance study, township of Grosse Isle, Michigan, Wayne county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, February, 1980.  
(t) Flood insurance study, township of Hampton, Michigan, Bay county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, February, 1978.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(u) Flood insurance study, city of Harbor Springs, Michigan, Emmet county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, November, 1976.  
(v) Flood insurance study, township of Harrison, Michigan, Macomb county,  
federal emergency management  
November 5, 1980.  
agency,  
federal  
insurance administration,  
(w) Flood insurance study, township of Ira, Michigan, St. Clair county, United States  
department of housing and urban development, federal insurance administration,  
September, 1979.  
(x) Flood insurance study, township of Kawkawlin, Michigan, Bay county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, August, 1978.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(y) Flood insurance study, township of LaSalle, Michigan, Monroe county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, August, 1977.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(z) Flood insurance study, city of Luna Pier, Michigan, Monroe county, federal  
emergency management agency, federal insurance administration, December 1,  
1981.  
(aa) Flood insurance study, city of Monroe, Michigan, Monroe county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, December, 1976.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(bb) Flood insurance study, township of Monroe, Michigan, Monroe county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, June, 1977.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(cc) Flood insurance study, city of Muskegon, Michigan, Muskegon county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, December, 1976.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(dd) Flood insurance study, township of Muskegon, Michigan, Muskegon county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, August, 1977.  
(ee) Flood insurance study, city of New Baltimore, Michigan, Macomb county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, March, 1978.  
(ff) Flood insurance study, city of North Muskegon, Michigan, Muskegon county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, November, 1976.  
Page 14  
(gg) Flood insurance study, city of Norton Shores, Michigan, Muskegon county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, September, 1977.  
(hh) Flood insurance study, township of Pinconning, Michigan, Bay county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, March, 1978.  
(ii) Flood insurance study, city of St. Clair, Michigan, St. Clair county, United  
States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance administration,  
December, 1977.  
(jj) Flood insurance study, township of St. Clair, Michigan, St. Clair county, United  
States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance administration,  
February, 1978.  
(kk) Flood insurance study, city of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, Macomb county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, February, 1978.  
(ll) Flood insurance study, township of Sims, Michigan, Arenac county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, December, 1977.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(mm) Flood insurance study, village of Suttons Bay, Michigan, Leelanau county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, December, 1976.  
(nn) Flood insurance study, township of Wisner, Michigan, Tuscola county,  
United States department of housing and urban development, federal insurance  
administration, November, 1977.  
(oo) Flood insurance study, city of Wyandotte, Michigan, Wayne county, United  
States department of housing and  
administration, November, 1977.  
urban  
development,  
federal insurance  
(2) The documents adopted in this rule are available from the Federal Insurance  
Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 175 West Jackson  
Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604, at a cost at the time of adoption of these rules  
of $5.00 each; the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Land and Water  
Management Division, P.O. Box 30028, Lansing, Michigan 48909, at no charge; and  
the local unit of government.  
(3) The department may designate additional flood risk areas which are located  
within the 100-year floodplain of a Great Lake or  
a
connecting waterway. The  
following information and studies may be used in delineating the flood risk areas:  
(a) Current floodplain information reports by the United States army, corps of  
engineers.  
(b) Report on Great Lakes open-coast flood levels by the United States army, corps  
of engineers.  
(c) Current flood hazard analysis studies by the United States department of  
housing and urban development, federal insurance administration.  
(d) Current flood hazard analysis studies by the United States soil conservation  
service.  
(e) Engineering studies currently acceptable to the department.  
Page 15  
(4) If the studies listed in subrule (3) of this rule are used to determine the flood  
risk area, all of the following procedures for designation shall be used:  
(a) Not less than 30 days before designation of a flood risk area, the department shall  
mail predesignation letters to the affected landowners of record as shown in the last  
assessment roll. The letter shall explain that the property is being considered for  
designation as a flood risk area. The department shall schedule a meeting before  
designation to explain the proposed designation to property owners and local  
governmental agencies.  
(b) The department shall designate a flood risk area upon its finding that the  
property lies within the 100-year floodplain of a Great Lake or a connecting waterway.  
(c) In designating a flood risk area, the department shall notify the landowner of  
record and the local governmental agency affected thereby. The notice of designation  
shall be delivered personally or sent by certified mail to the landowner of record at  
the address given in the last assessment roll.  
(d) The notice of designation to affected landowners and local governmental  
agencies shall include all of the following information:  
(i) The authority and reasons for designation of flood risk areas.  
(ii) A description, graphic or otherwise, of the limits of the flood risk area.  
(iii) An explanation of any regulatory measures which may be required in the flood  
risk area and the regulatory role of the local governmental agency.  
(iv) The procedure by which the designation may be appealed.  
(5) The department shall consider additional flood risk areas as may be proposed by  
local governmental agencies, citizens, or interested groups.  
(6) In the absence of an approved local ordinance enacted pursuant to the provisions  
of sections 7, 8, 9, and 10 of the act or other approved ordinance which meets or  
exceeds the requirements in these rules, a person or local governmental agency proposing  
a new permanent structure or an enlargement of an existing permanent structure on  
a parcel, any portion of which is in a designated flood risk area, shall submit a  
permit application to the department for its review. The permit application shall contain  
all of the following information:  
(a) A legal description of the property.  
(b) A description of the proposed permanent structure.  
(c) An elevation survey of the building site by a professional engineer or registered land  
surveyor that shows both of the following:  
(i) A temporary bench mark which is within 100 feet of the proposed construction  
and which states the elevation of the bench mark in relation to the national geodetic  
vertical datum.  
(ii) The proposed elevation of the lowest structural member which supports the  
floor, including the basement, but excluding all of the following:  
(A) The footing.  
(B) Pile caps.  
(C) Piling.  
(D) Nonstructural slabs.  
(E) Girders.  
(F) Grade beams.  
(d) The means to be undertaken to prevent property loss.  
Page 16  
(e) The signature and address of the applicant.  
(7) A permit application for a new permanent structure on a parcel, any portion of  
which is in a designated flood risk area, shall be approved if it meets or exceeds the  
minimum requirements established in subrule (10) or (11) of this rule.  
(8) Not more than 60 days after receipt of a permit application, the department shall  
send a notice of its approval or disapproval to the applicant. The reasons for  
disapproval shall be stated and sent by certified mail. A permit application which  
does not require a field investigation shall be processed within 20 days.  
(9) Approval of a permit does not exempt the applicant from complying with other  
statutes, ordinances, or rules and regulations.  
(10) New residential structures in a flood risk area shall be elevated so that the lowest  
portion of all horizontal structural members which support floors, excluding  
footings, pile caps, piling, nonstructural slabs, girders, and grade beams, is located at  
or above the 100-year flood elevation. All basement floor surfaces shall be located at  
or above the 100-year flood elevation. New and replacement electrical wiring  
and equipment and heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and other service facilities  
shall be either placed above the 100-year flood elevation or be protected so as to  
prevent water from entering or accumulating within the system components during  
floods up to the 100-year elevation. Duct insulation subject to water damage shall  
not be installed below the 100-year elevation.  
(11) New nonresidential structures in a flood risk area shall be in compliance with  
either of the following requirements:  
(a) Meet the requirements of new residential structures as provided for in subrule (10)  
of this rule.  
(b) Together with attendant utility and sanitary facilities, be certified by a  
professional engineer or architect to have been designed so that, below the elevation  
defining the flood risk area, the  
structure  
is watertight and able to withstand  
hydrostatic pressures from a water level equal to the elevation defining the flood risk  
area. All floor and wall penetrations for plumbing, mechanical, and electrical  
systems shall be made watertight to prevent flood water seepage or shall be provided  
with shutoff valves or closure devices to prevent backwater flow during flooding.  
(12) An existing structure which is not in conformity with the elevation requirements  
of a designated flood risk area shall not be altered, enlarged, or otherwise  
extended in a manner that increases its nonconformity. If a nonconforming  
structure deteriorates or becomes damaged, it may be restored to its condition before  
the  
deterioration  
or damage if the repair costs are not more than 60% of the  
replacement value of the structure in any 12-month period. If, in any 12-month period,  
the cost of restoring the nonconforming structure is more than 60% of its  
replacement value, the requirements for new permanent structures shall apply.  
(13) Any aggrieved party who contests the designation of a flood risk area under  
subrule (4) of this rule or the disapproval of a permit application shall be granted a  
hearing if a petition is filed with the department not more than 60 days after the  
notice of designation or notice of disapproval is sent. Such petition shall be sent to the  
director of the Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 30028, Lansing, Michigan  
48909.The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Act No.  
Page 17  
306 of the Public Acts of 1969, as amended, being S24.201 et seq. of the Michigan  
Compiled Laws.  
(14) If the local unit of government has an approved ordinance enacted pursuant to  
the provisions of section 7, 8, 9, or 10 of the act or other approved ordinance, the  
department shall provide a period of 1 year from the date of notification to allow the  
local unit of government to adopt standards which equal or exceed the requirements  
in these rules.  
(15) If the department determines that the requirements set forth in these rules are  
not being upheld by a local unit of government which has an approved ordinance, the  
department shall contact the local agency to identify, discuss, and attempt to resolve  
any problems. If the problem cannot be informally resolved, the department shall  
then notify the community, in writing, of its determination. The notice shall contain  
the specific reasons why the department believes the local unit of government has not  
upheld the approved ordinance. The local unit of government shall be provided a period  
of 60 days to respond to the department. If the department further determines that  
the local unit of government has not made sufficient changes to its ordinance  
administration or otherwise explained its actions, the department shall withdraw its  
approval and assume its flood risk area permitting authority within the jurisdiction.  
(16) The landowner of record and the local governmental agency shall be sent a  
notice by certified mail if the flood risk area designation is removed.  
(17) All flood risk area designations in existence on the effective date of these rules  
shall remain in full force and effect.  
History: 1979 AC; 1981 AACS; 1992 AACS.  
R 281.26 Rescission.  
Rule 6. R 281.1 to R 281.19 of the Michigan Administrative Code, appearing on  
pages 7129 to 7132 of the 1974 Annual Supplement to the Code and pages 6 to 8 of  
Quarterly Supplement No. 87 to the Code, are rescinded.  
History: 1979 AC.  
Page 18