One-Stop Waterfront Permitting

In New York Harbor there are dozens of government agencies that have a hand in regulating waterfront use. For decades this complicated, non-transparent system has deterred community programs and ecologically innovative waterfront development from taking place. A cooperative effort of the regulating agencies will simplify the permitting process.

The protection, conservation, and best use of the water resources of New York and New Jersey are matters of utmost public importance. Waterways such as streams, rivers, lakes, bays, and estuaries not only provide water for agricultural, domestic, and industrial use, but also provide habitats for aquatic life, avenues for transportation and commerce, and sites for many forms of public recreation. Wetlands provide water storage for flood protection, filtering of pollutants, and habitats for many plant, fish, and other wildlife. These aquatic resources are vital to the region’s economy and the well being of New York and New Jersey residents.

We all depend on the health of our wetlands and waterways in one way or another. To provide for the best possible use of water resources, we must strike a balance between protection and human use. This is the central purpose of the regulations that govern activities in waterways, wetlands, and riparian areas in New York and New Jersey.

MWA completed research on the waterfront permitting processes affecting both the New York City and northern New Jersey waterfronts.  A users guide was developed and is provided on MWA's waterfront permitting website:

MWA recommendations for improvements to waterfront permitting can be found at:


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