Shoreline Construction

Prior to any type of construction and/or installation activities occurring channelward of the mean high water line within any of Worcester’s tidal waters must first obtain approval and a permit from the Department of Environmental Programs.  Examples of these types of activities include:

Docks and Piers
Rip Rap
Replacement Bulkheads
Marsh Creation (Soft Shorelines)


The Natural Resources Division of the Department of Environmental Programs is responsible for all aspects of the Shoreline Construction process.  These responsibilities include the intake, review, and approval of applications during the beginning stages of the project and also subsequent permitting and inspections duties that occur during the construction and/or installation of improvements to ensure they are completed in accordance with their approved plan and building standards.

Applicants first begin the process by submitting a completed Shoreline Construction Application with accompanying fee and associated plans/documents to the Department.  Applications are required to be signed by the property owner and may be completed and submitted by the property owner themselves, consultant, contractor, surveyor, attorney, and/or other personal representative. For more complex projects, staff encourages the applicant to request a pre-application meeting prior to application submission.  Requests are classified as being either a Major or Minor category which is based upon the magnitude and associated channelward encroachment of the project. 

Application fees:

  • Major Construction = $150.00(Generally, for projects exceeding 8 feet channelward)

  • Minor Construction = $75.00(All other projects not defined as Major Construction)

Once the Department has determined that the submitted application is complete, staff then notifies adjoining property owners in writing and also places the application on the County webpage for public viewing.  Adjoining property owners and general public are given a 15 day period in which to provide written comment to the Department.  Upon the conclusion of the 15 day comment period, the Department or Approval Authority will review any received comments and then make a final determination based upon the following considerations:

  • Environmental Impact

  • Navigational Impact

  • Recreational Potential

  • Commercial Benefit to Worcester County

  • Impact to surrounding neighborhood and property values

  • Such other matters as the Department and Approval Authority consider germane

Once an applicant has obtained all necessary local, state, and federal authorizations then they may proceed with the submission of a Shoreline Construction Permit.  This permit and the associated $150.00 fee is submitted to the Department for processing, review, and issuance.  Once the permit has been approved, the inspector will contact the applicant and/or contractor to schedule a pre-construction meeting at which time a copy of the permit is given to the responsible party.

For details regarding shoreline construction standards - New Construction Standards

For more information relative to State/Federal requirements - MDE Wetlands Construction Information Page

For more information relative to the Worcester County Shoreline Construction process -

Shoreline Construction Applications and/or Shoreline Construction Permits may be submitted to either our main office located in the Worcester County Government Center located at 1 West Market Street, Room 1306, Snow Hill, MD 21863. 



Tom Bair, Natural Resources Inspector: (410) 632-1220 ext. 2021

Joy Birch, Natural Resources Planner:  (410) 632-1220 ext. 1161