Thinking of taking creek gravel? State requires permit from DNR

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Many landowners and small enterprises, including local governments, routinely obtain gravel from creeks and streams for road maintenance and fill.

While this is an inexpensive way to obtain gravel, it is also illegal. Kentucky regulations clearly require anyone (including governments) to obtain a permit from the Department for Natural Resources before removing gravel from a creek. Anyone found removing gravel from a creek without a permit is subject to citation and monetary penalties up to $5,000 per day.

Think before you act! Call the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources at 502-564-2340 and ask for the non-coal branch. The call will pay for itself.

Creek gravel removal is regulated by the Non-Coal Branch in the Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement. 405 KAR 5:015 states “Mineral operations subject to 405 KAR Chapter 5, include: mining of limestone and dolomite; mining of sand and gravel; surface disturbance of dredging of river or creek sand and gravel: mining of clay: mining of fluorspar and other vein minerals. Mineral operations include the surface disturbance of underground mining as well as strip mining.”

The non-coal mineral operations regulations found in 405 KAR Chapter 5 do not include any exemptions for creek gravel removal. Anyone that desires to remove creek gravel from creeks shall obtain a permit from the Department prior to any disturbance of such activity. Some guidelines for obtaining a non-coal permit are listed in this brochure. The only activities concerning creek gravel removal that may not require a permit are maintenance of road culverts or bridges. Even then, the material cannot be removed and used for industrial or commercial purposes. These activities should be brought to the attention of the Department for Natural Resources. DNR will review each instance on a case-by-case basis to determine if a permit is required.