What is a 310 permit?

The simple answer is a permit to do any type of work that impacts a perennial stream or river.  Unfortunately this simple answer gives rise to many more questions, such as:  What is a perennial stream?  Who needs a permit?  What qualifies as work?  What qualifies as an impact?  Who issues the permit?  How does one apply?  Read on for a quick primer!

What is a perennial stream?

Conservation districts define perennial streams as any stream which naturally flows throughout the year, including all portions of streams that may contain sections that run dry at some point during the year.  All projects on rivers require permits.

Who needs a permit?

Everyone!  Private land owners, contractors, and public lands are all subject to the 310 law.

What qualifies as work or an impact?

Work that requires a 310 permit includes bank stabilization, bridge and crossing construction, in stream diversions, dams, culverts, and more.  Anything that has to do with adding or subtracting material from the stream or its banks.  Streams are dynamic systems that are constantly changing.  Impact is anything that may alter or disallow the stream from naturally evolving or interrupt natural flows.  If you have questions about whether or not your project qualifies, contact your local conservation district.

Who issues the permit and how does one apply? 

Conservation districts issue 310 permits.  In order to apply one must complete the joint application which may be obtained through the conservation district.  The application process is simple, but is subject to public notice laws therefore applications must be submitted to the district by the Thursday before the monthly meeting to be considered that month.  After an application is received the project must be inspected by conservation district supervisors and the local Fish, Wildlife, and Parks biologist.  After the inspection the project will be presented and voted upon at the monthly district meeting which is held on the third Thursday of each month at 6:00 pm in the USDA conference room.

How long does a 310 permit last?

310 permits are good for one year.  If an extension is needed please contact the conservation district office with a written request.  For certain projects a five year maintenance agreement may be an option.

What do I do if I feel a project has been done without a 310 permit?

Contact the conservation office and fill out an official complaint form.  The form is available at the office or may be downloaded on the forms and applications page.