The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for protecting many of the nation's aquatic environments including oceans, rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, and wetlands. These areas are referred to by the Corps as waters of the United States. Work in, over or under waters of the United States may require a permit
from the Corps. Permits, licenses, or similar authorizations may also be required by other federal, state, and local agencies.
There are three primary laws under which the Corps regulates activities impacting waters of the United States: the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, the Clean Water Act and the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.
Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899
Section 10 governs work impacting navigable waters. Examples of activities requiring Section 10 permits:
- Construction or installation of piers, wharves, bulkheads, dolphins, marinas, ramps, floats, overhanging decks, buoys, boat lifts, jet ski lifts, intake
structures, outfall pipes, and cable or pipeline crossings.
- Dredging and excavation.
- Overhead transmission lines, tunnels, or directional bore holes.
See a list of navigable waters Oregon.
Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act
Section 103 provides the authority to issue permits for transporting dredged material excavated from navigable waters of the United States to be dumped into
ocean waters. This includes dredged material shipped by truck to a port site for ocean disposal.
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act
Section 404 regulates the placement of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. Examples of activities requiring Section 404 permits:
- Depositing fill, dredged, or excavated material.
- Grading or mechanized land clearing of wetlands.
- Ditch excavation activities in wetlands and associated discharge of dredged materials into wetlands.
- Fill for residential, commercial, or recreational developments.
- Construction of revetments, groins, breakwaters, beach enhancement, jetties, levees, dams, dikes, and weirs.
- Placement of riprap and road fills.
- Bank and stream channel stabilization projects.
Note: You do not generally need a permit under Section 404 for activities associated with normal farming, ranching, and forestry activities that are established and ongoing. Some of these activities include plowing, cultivating, minor drainage, and harvesting for the production of food, fiber, and forest products. To find out whether specific activities are exempt, contact your local Corps office.