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Scenic Rivers Permits

You must have a Scenic Rivers Permit for activities or uses that could have detrimental ecological impacts on designated Scenic Rivers. Examples of these activities or uses include:

  • Crossings by roads, railroads, pipelines, or utilities across any Scenic River and sharing of land and air space by such roads, railroads, pipelines, and utilities
  • Point source discharge of any pollutant, with the concurrence of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
  • Prospecting, drilling, and mining for nonrenewable natural resources
  • Structures and buildings
  • Signs or other forms of outdoor advertising that are visible from waters within a Scenic River
  • Piers, boat slips, bulkheads, and landings
  • Mooring of houseboats or floating camps
  • Commercial uses, activities, and access
  • Water withdrawals.

Several agencies including LDWF; the Louisiana Departments of Environmental Quality, Agriculture and Forestry, and Culture, Recreation, and Tourism; and the Offices of State Lands and State Planning and Budget review these permits. These agencies frequently collaborate with other state and federal regulatory agencies in this process.


Submitting a Permit Application

To propose a permitted activity on a designated Scenic River, you must submit a completed Scenic Rivers Permit Application to LDWF. Documents larger than 8½ inches x 11 inches must be submitted digitally in an LDWF-approved digital format. The application must contain the following:

  • Project description and scaled drawings
  • Vicinity map of project location
  • Color photos of project site
  • List of other permits required
  • Signed legal agreement
  • Statement of compliance history
  • List of steps taken to minimize impact
  • List of project alternatives
  • $100 permit fee
  • Site visit fee ($135, if applicable).

Permit Review Process

Once LDWF receives a Scenic Rivers Permit application and deems it complete and sufficient, staff will assign it a permit number. (If the application is incomplete or insufficient, LDWF will return it to the applicant.)

LDWF then distributes copies of the application to the appropriate agencies for a 30-day evaluation period. During this time, staff will determine whether a site investigation is warranted. 

In serious and urgent situations, the Secretary of LDWF may waive the waiting periods for standard permitting procedures and grant an emergency permit. For emergency procedures to apply, the application and site inspection must clearly indicate that circumstances are sufficiently dire, through no fault of the applicant, to represent imminent harm to human health or the immediate environment and that those circumstances would significantly worsen during the standard review period.

Public Notice

At the same time of the permit review, the permit applicant is responsible for publishing notice of the permit in one issue of the official state journal (The Advocate) and three consecutive issues of the official parish journal of the parish where the proposed activity is located. Call LDWF at 225.765.2642 to obtain the name of the official parish journal.

The suggested format for public notice is (fill in parentheses as appropriate):

Request for Scenic River Permit on (name of Scenic River)

The Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as Administrator of the Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System is currently considering the application of (applicant's name) for a permit to (brief description of proposed activity) on (name of Scenic River). The decision to grant or deny this permit in the public interest will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts of the proposed activity on (name of Scenic River).

Copies of the application can be reviewed by the public at the LDWF main office, Room 432, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA and at the District Office nearest the proposed activity. The public is invited to comment on this permit request for a period of forty-five (45) days. Responses should convey sound reasoning for or against the proposal and be mailed to:

Scenic Rivers Program
PO Box 98000
Baton Rouge, LA


The applicant must mail proof of public notice to:

Scenic Rivers Program
2000 Quail Drive
Room 432
Baton Rouge, LA  70808

Permit Approvals/Denials

The Secretary of LDWF will decide whether to grant or deny the permit within 30 days after the close of the public comment period (45 days) or the public hearing (if one is held).

Most permits are valid for the useful life of the project but are invalidated if the permitted activity has not begun within 18 months of issuance of the permit.

If a permit application is denied, applicants may appeal to the 19th Judicial District Court after an administrative hearing in accordance with the Louisiana Administrative Procedure Act.