Regulatory Permit Program


Jurisdiction: Wetlands, Streams and Waters Regulated by the Corps

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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.

Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 requires authorization from the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps Section 10 permit or exemption) for the construction of any structure in or over any navigable water of the United States, the excavation/dredging or deposition of material in these waters, or any obstruction or alteration in a "navigable water". Structure or work outside the limits defined for navigable waters of the U.S. require a Section 10 permit if the structure or work affects the course, location, condition, or capacity of the water body.

Although each Corps District maintains a list of "Section 10" navigable waters of the US, absence from the list should not be taken as an indication that the water is not navigable or jurisdictional under Section 10 (as per 33 CFR §329.16).

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Section 10 Waters

The Section 10 Waters list from the Wilmington District was compiled in 1965 from multiple navigability studies conducted prior to this time. The District makes no claim that the list is complete. An additional list is available containing Section 10 Waters from western North Carolina, as these reaches were designated as Section 10 by the Corps prior to the late 1980s when this region of the state was regulated by Corps Districts other than Wilmington (i.e., Nashville, Huntington, Savannah) and hence were not included in the 1965 list.

These lists are for reference purposes only. They are not a substitute for a jurisdictional determination (JD). It is imperative that you contact the appropriate Regulatory Project Manager for a final determination on whether or not a particular project falls within or outside of Section 10 authority.

Historic (circa 1965) Section 10 Wilmington District Waters (NC)

Addendum (circa late 1980s) Additional Section 10 Waters for Western NC (from Asheville Field Office)