Check if you need a BCDC permit

Whether or not you need a BCDC permit depends on where your project is located and the type of activity or development you are planning.

Where BCDC permits are required

Permits are required for most projects and activities in the following areas:

  • San Francisco Bay, including its open waters, marshes, and mudflats
  • Most creeks, rivers, sloughs, and other tributaries that flow into the Bay and are subject to tides
  • The first 100 feet inland from the shoreline around San Francisco Bay and its tidally influenced tributaries (an area called the “shoreline band”)
  • Certain areas of the Bay that were diked off in the past, including salt ponds, duck hunting preserves, game refuges, and other managed wetlands
  • Large areas within Suisun Marsh, including levees, waterways, marshes, and low-lying grasslands

The official legal definitions of BCDC’s permitting jurisdictions are found in section 66610 of the McAteer-Petris Act and sections 29101 through 29103 of the Suisun Marsh Preservation Act.

Find out more about BCDC’s jurisdiction. Contact us if you need help determining if your project is in BCDC’s jurisdiction.

Activities and development that require permits

State law gives BCDC the authority to issue or deny permits for any projects that “place fill, …extract materials, or … make any substantial change in use of any water, land or structure” within its jurisdiction.

You need a permit before you do any of the following things within BCDC’s jurisdiction:

  • Construct, remodel, or repair a structure
  • Substantially change the use of any structure or area
  • Moor a vessel for an extended period of time
  • Dredge or extract material from the Bay bottom
  • Dispose of material in the Bay
  • Subdivide property
  • Grade land
  • Hold a large event
  • Most other activities within BCDC’s jurisdiction

Still not sure whether or not your project needs a BCDC permit? Contact us for advice.