Driveways and Stream Crossings
Drainage issues associated with the driveway pose a challenge for many rural homeowners. It is important to maintain natural drainage patterns as much as possible and keep water and debris from washing down the drive onto the road. STC, with the assistance of the Rural Stormwater Coalition, has prepared a two-page information sheet about driveway construction, called "Building a Rural Driveway." The brochure includes construction details and recommendations for driveway construction on steep slopes. Thank you for distributing this widely - poorly built driveways are a significant cause of erosion and sedimentation in local highway ditches and culverts. .
Driveways should be set back from streams wherever possible to reduce the potential for flooding and erosion damage. If the stream has a regulated floodplain, construction of a driveway within the floodplain requires a floodplain development permit from the municipality. Some streams also require a permit from the state Protection of Waters Program for any disturbance within 50 feet of the bank. Additional information is on the STC fact sheet about Meandering Streams.
Private stream crossings should also be avoided due to the risk, expense, and impact on the stream. A bridge must be able to withstand high flows without causing increased flooding or erosion damage. It must also be safe and able to to accommodate emergency vehicles. Information about designing stream crossings is available on the NYSDEC website: Stream Crossings and Stream Crossings: Guidelines and Best Management Practices. The bridge should be designed by a professional and may require a floodplain development permit from the municipality (if the stream has a regulated floodplain) and/or a Protection of Waters Permit from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (for some stream classifications). STC has developed an informational fact sheet about Private Stream Crossings and additional information about stream processes.