Alaska's fish habitat protection statutes were adopted shortly after statehood and remain unchanged to this day. This reflects the longstanding Alaskan ideal that fishery resources and habitats are assets that improve our quality of life and merit protection from unnecessary human disturbance.
Land and Water use permits within the Department of Fish and Game are issued through the Division of Habitat and can be divided into two major categories: Fish Habitat Permits and Special Area Permits.
Fish Habitat Permits
Fish Habitat Permit Application (PDF 69 kB)
ADF&G has the statutory responsibility for protecting freshwater anadromous fish habitat and providing free passage for anadromous and resident fish in fresh water bodies (AS 16.05.841-871). Any activity or project that is conducted below the ordinary high water mark of an anadromous stream requires a Fish Habitat Permit.
A Fish Habitat Permit is required before any action is taken to:
- construct a hydraulic project, or
- use, divert, obstruct, pollute, or change the natural flow or bed of a specified river, lake, or stream, or
- use wheeled, tracked, or excavating equipment or log-dragging equipment in the bed of a specified river, lake, or stream.
Special Area Permits
Special Area Permit Application (PDF 134 kB)
ADF&G has the statutory responsibility for managing activities that occur in legislatively designated special areas. Land and water use activities in a Special Area require a Special Area Permit from ADF&G (AS 16.20).
Each Special Area has certain allowable uses defined in statute and regulations. A Special Area Permit is required before any action is taken to:
- construct or place structures,
- develop natural resources,
- explore energy opportunities, or
- use off-road wheeled or tracked vehicles.
If you are unsure if you need a permit, please contact the Division of Habitat office nearest your project or activity.
Please be advised that certain activities within water bodies may also require additional authorizations from other state, federal, or local agencies, including:
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
- U.S. Forest Service;
- Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation; and
- Alaska Department of Natural Resources,
Division of Mining Land and Water
These agencies should be contacted directly for information on their permitting requirements.