Small Pond Process

In accordance with Environment Article 5-503 any person planning to construct, repair or modify a dam or reservoir in Maryland must obtain a permit from the Department. Environment Article 5-503 includes a simplified process that exempts persons from the requirement to obtain a permit from the Department. The criteria are 1) drainage area to the pond must be less than 640 acres; the height of the pond (measured from the upstream toe to the top of dam) must be less than 20 feet; and the dam must be a "low hazard" structure, the failure of which is not likely to cause loss of life or property damage.

Plans must be submitted to the local Soil Conservation District (SCD) for approval and prepared in accordance with MD 378: USDA Natural Resources Conservative Service (NRCS) Maryland Pond Code 378, January 2000.  MD 14 Pond Summary Sheet is to be submitted with the plans to the SCD and forwarded to the Department as evidence of the SCD approval.

If the pond is being planned for stormwater management please refer to MDE Stormwater Design Manual. Ponds proposed in Use III, Natural Trout waters must include design features that mitigate thermal discharges. For stormwater management ponds in Use III watershed, please refer to the MDE Stormwater Design Manual. The Small Pond Review Criteriawill also assist applicants and engineers in identifying the permit review agency.

If there are any questions regarding the above process or if we can assist you further, please feel free to contact Dam Safety Division.


Contact Information

You may also call us at (410) 537-3538.  Our mailing address is:

Dam Safety Division
Water Management Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment

1800 Washington Boulevard, Ste. 440
Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708