Van Buren Conservation District

Critical Dunes

The Critical Dune Areas (CDA) program is administered under the authority of Part 353, Sand Dune Protection and Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. The CDA program protects the extremely fragile areas of Michigan’s unique dunes by promoting the use of design and construction techniques to minimize impacts of uses on the dunes. As defined in part 353, “use” means “a developmental, silvicultural, or recreational activity done or caused to be done by a person that significantly alters the physical characteristic of a critical dune area or a contour change done or caused to be done by a person.”

A Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, & Energy (EGLE) permit is required for any use within a CDA. Regulated activities include construction of buildings, septic systems, water wells, driveways, all excavation and filling, and vegetation removal within the CDAs. These areas can be identified by EGLE staff based on the “Atlas of Critical Dune Areas” dated February 1989, and adopted by the Michigan Legislature under Part 353. You can learn more about Michigan’s CDA program and begin the permitting process on EGLE’s website:,9429,7-135-3311_4114—,00.html

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