Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 requires approval prior to the accomplishment of any work in, over, or under navigable waters of the United States, or which affects the course, location, condition or capacity of such waters.
Navigable waters of the United States (33 CFR Part 329) are defined as waters that have been used in the past, are now used, or are susceptible to use as a means to transport interstate or foreign commerce up to the head of navigation. Section 10 and/or Section 404 permits are required for construction activities in these waters.
Typical activities requiring Section 10 permits include:
Construction of piers, wharves, breakwaters, bulkheads, jetties, weirs, dolphins, marinas, ramps, floats, intake structures, and cable or pipeline crossings.
Installation of overhead utilities across navigable waters or installation of underground utility lines beneath navigable waters.
Work such as dredging or disposal of dredged material.
Excavation, filling, or other modifications to navigable waters of the U.S.
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires approval prior to discharging dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States.
Waters of the United States (33 CFR Part 328) include essentially all surface waters, including all navigable waters and their tributaries, all interstate waters and their tributaries, all impoundments of these waters, all wetlands adjacent to these waters, and certain isolated wetlands.
The term "wetlands" means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include tundra, permafrost areas, swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.
How to Recognize a Wetland is a brochure containing more information on wetland identification.
The 1987 Wetlands Delineation Manual is the technical resource used to delineate wetlands and specifies the criteria for an area to be classified as a wetland.
Typical activities requiring Section 404 permits include:
- Discharging fill or dredged material in waters of the U.S., including wetlands.
- Site development fill for residential, commercial, or recreational developments.
- Construction of revetments, groins, breakwaters, levees, dams, dikes, and weirs.
- Placement of riprap and road fills.
Discharges of fill may include grading or other earthwork into streams or wetlands, construction of temporary access ramps, equipment pads, or temporary containment berms.
Certain activities are exempt (33 CFR 323.4) from Section 404 permit requirements.
Section 103 of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act requires approval for the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of dumping it in ocean waters at disposal sites previously approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.