Scott Rabideau walking along a seaside bluff in Bristol, RI

CRMC Permitting

The Coastal Resources Management Program, or the CRMP, are regulations that govern all land use activities which occur within 200 feet of the Rhode Island coastline. The Coastal Resources Management Council, or the CRMC, is the state agency responsible for the administration of these regulations.

A unique element of these rules revolves around what the CRMP considers "the shoreline". The CRMP defines a variety of shoreline features which serve as the point from which their 200 foot jurisdictional limit is measured. Contrary to popular belief, the shoreline feature on any individual lot is rarely the high-tide mark of the ocean or coastal waterbody. Establishing the shoreline feature, or what is more commonly referred to as the coastal feature, is an integral part of any new development or the redevelopment of an existing waterfront property.

A collection of seaside images showing the CRMC Permitting process

CRMC Permitting Services from Natural Resource Services

Permit Compliance Inspections

A Permit Compliance Inspection (PCI) is usually performed prior to a client purchasing a developed coastal property. NRS will review the CRMC permit database to determine whether the agency has previously authorized changes to the house or property.

This review is followed up by a site inspection to determine if the site is in compliance with all of the required conditions of any previously issued permits. A final report is generated after the inspection. This report provides the purchaser with the peace-of-mind knowing their investment is for a property that has a clean regulatory record.

Coastal Feature Delineation

The CRMP identifies and defines 7 shoreline features. These include coastal wetlands, beaches, dunes, or coastal headlands, bluffs and cliffs. Each coastal feature is unique and should be properly delineated prior to planning any project on a coastal property.

The CRMP 200 foot jurisdictional limit, the required buffer zone, and the minimum construction setback distance are all measured from the delineated coastal feature. It is a crucial first step for any prospective or existing coastal property owner contemplating a project.

Freshwater Wetlands in the Vicinity of the Coast

Since 1999, the CRMC has also been responsible for administering the freshwater wetland regulations within portions of all of Rhode Island's coastal communities. These regulations mirror the DEM rules and require the same wetland delineations and permits.

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Surveys

The CRMP requires that a Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) survey be included with an application for a new residential dock. An SAV survey is performed to determine if eelgrass, or other submerged vegetation, is present in the open water area where the dock is proposed.

An SAV survey must be done within a specific window during the summer months (July 1- August 15 for coastal ponds and July 1-September 15 for ocean or bayside properties). NRS performs SAV surveys during the summer months. We will provide you and your design engineer with a report meeting the application submission requirements.

Application for Assent

NRS is available to assist you with the preparation and submission of any application to the CRMC.

Fast track your project with Natural Resource Services, the CRMC permitting expert in Rhode Island