Shoreline Permits

No fees are required for general permits issued by an office on the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Lakes Project. If an individual permit from the Mobile District Office is required, minor fees may be charged.

A permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is required for any dredging, filling, or structures in or over the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers (including surrounding property that is subject to a flowage easement).

Permits are obtained by submitting applications to one of the offices of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers located on the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Lakes Project. (Addresses and phone numbers are listed below) No work can begin until a signed permit is received by the applicant. No permits are issued for work where the Corps owns the underlying property in fee title.  A "Specified Acts Permit" is a non-fee, short term permit issued for a specified one-time act for minor activities on project lands and waters. 


Bankhead, Holt, or Oliver Lakes Permit forms needs to be completed and mailed to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Regulatory Division

Birmingham Office

218 Summit Pkwy

Suite 222

Homewood, AL 35209

Phone: (205) 290-9096


Warrior, Demopolis, or Coffeeville Lakes Permit forms needs to be completed and mailed to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Regulatory Division

Mobile District Office

109 St. Joseph Street

Mobile, AL 36602

Phone: (205) 694-3771

Permiting Process

  1. Pre-application meeting to discuss the proposed work and permitting process - The meeting normally takes place at the site of the proposed work.
  2. Submission of application
  3. Review of application to determine conformance with the appropriate general permit and all of its conditions - If the proposed work exceeds the scope of the general permit, the application may be returned for revision or forwarded to Mobile for an individual permit depending on the desire of the applicant.
  4. On-site review of proposed work (if needed)
  5. Issuance of permit
  6. Construction
  7. Inspection and posting of permit tag to identify the permitted structure.

Things That Must Be Included when Applying

  1. Signed (in ink) Joint Application form.
  2. Completed Project Description Information List.
  3. Vicinity map and directions to the site
  4. Drawings: Drawings should be on 8 ½ x 11 inch white paper. The drawings do not need to be professional but must be clear, accurate, and contain all necessary information. They should be as clear and simple as possible.

Drawings must show two views:

  • Plan View: The plan view shows the proposed activity as if you were looking straight down on it from above. It should at a minimum show the shoreline, proposed structure(s), north arrow, property lines, distance to property lines, names of adjacent property owners, and all dimensions.
  • Cross Section View: The cross section view shows the side, front, or rear view of the proposed activity as it would appear if cut down the middle for display. The drawing should at a minimum show the water depths, shoreline and dimensions of all fill, excavation or structures.  

Commonly Used Terms

Flowage Easement - An easement that gives the Corps of Engineers the right to permanently flood the property. The Corps owns flowage easements around much of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers. The easements are related to a height above the normal pool elevation. That height varies from lake to lake and may be as high as 9.5 feet above the normal pool elevation. Although the landowner maintains the property and pays taxes on it, the easement prohibits excavation, placement of fill, and construction of structures on the property without a permit from the Corps of Engineers.

General Permit - A permit for a relatively minor structure or activity within the waters of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers such as bulkheads, shoreline stabilization, boat docks, boat slips, removal of floating debris, and boat ramps. Application for a general permit is relatively simple. If all the conditions of the permit are met, then the permit can be issued without a public notice period and lengthy delay. The permits are subject to change every 5 years.

Individual Permit - An individual permit is required for activities that exceed the scope of general permits. Individual permits are processed in the Mobile District Office and generally require coordination with other state and federal agencies and the public.

Navigable Waters - Waters that have been used for transportation of commerce. All waters of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers are navigable.

Waters of the United States - A broad term used to define areas subject to the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers permitting authority. It includes navigable waters, rivers, creeks, intermittent streams, natural ponds, sloughs, and wetlands.

Wetlands - Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and under normal conditions do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands typically include marshes and swamps but may also include areas that appear to be dry during the late summer and fall.