The procedure of identifying and locating jurisdictional waters of the US regulated by the Corps under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers & Harbors Act of 1899 is commonly referred to as the “JD process”, a “wetland determination” or a “delineation”. This survey procedure establishes a line that identifies and separates the Corps regulated areas from non-regulated areas. Regulated (i.e., jurisdictional) areas can include wetlands, stream channels, rivers, lakes, ponds and coastal and offshore waters. The JD process is essential when investigating, planning, designing, or submitting an application for a permit from the Corps to determine if the proposed work will occur in wetlands or waters of the US.
In general, these determinations are good for five years from the date the Corps notifies you in writing that you have accurately delineated the jurisdictional features on your property. The method for performing a Jurisdictional Determination (JD) employs a multi-parameter approach as defined in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual (Technical Report Y-87-1) and subsequent regional supplements. Basically this approach requires positive verification of the presence of hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soils, and wetland hydrology for an area to be determined a ‘wetland’.
See the web pages in our regulatory library for national and state wetland indicators, including vegetation, soil and hydrology, for information and tools that can help wetland delineators make jurisdictional determinations.