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CWA 401 Water Quality Certification


This program regulates discharges of fill and dredged material under Clean Water Act Section 401 and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act.

This program protects all waters in its regulatory scope, but has special responsibility for wetlands, riparian areas, and headwaters because these waterbodies have high resource value, are vulnerable to filling, and are not systematically protected by other programs. We are involved with protection of special-status species and regulation of hydromodification impacts. The Program encourages basin-level analysis and protection, because some functions of wetlands, riparian areas, and headwater streams - including pollutant removal, flood water retention, and habitat connectivity - are expressed at the basin or landscape level.

Most projects are regulated by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Boards). The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) directly regulates multi-regional projects and supports and coordinates the Program statewide.

email  Email Alerts - Sign up for the 401 Water Quality Certifications and Wetlands Program email updates.

Resources for Applicants

  • Flow Charts of WQC Process
    These flowcharts convey information about Conceptual Permit Process Steps for the issuance of 401 Certificates and WDRs at the DWQ 401 Certifications and Wetlands Unit.
  • Staff Directory
    If you have questions about our program, we invite you to use this directory to call or email our staff at the office in your region.
  • Application Form
    Use this 401 application form and submit it to the State Water Resources Control Board, Certification and Wetlands Unit, only if proposed project involves two or more Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB). Otherwise, use the application form of the appropriate RWQCB and submit the completed form to that agency.
  • In-Lieu Fee Program for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District (Effective 10/10/2014) sponsored by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has been approved by federal and state agencies, including the Water Boards, for compensatory mitigation.
  • Dredge and Fill Fee Calculator (Effective 10/30/2014)
    Application fees shall be based on the current fee schedule. After the certification has become effective annual fees will be based on the fee schedule at time of billing.

What's New?

Program Description and Rules

  • Program Scope and Strategy, December 19, 2002
  • Program Regulations
    Navigate using the hyperlinks in the Table of Contents, or press Ctrl+F and type in a keyword.
  • Program Business Rules
    This Table can be used to research a number of "Business Rules" applicable to the 401 Certification Program.
  • Processing Applications for Development Permits Under the Permit Streamlining Act The Permit Streamlining Act establishes time limits for public agencies' review and approval of applications for development projects. Its purpose is to ensure a clear understanding of the requirements applicants must meet and to expedite public agency decisions concerning development projects. This memo outlines how this Act applies to actions of the State and Regional Water Boards.

Public Notices

Individual Certification & General Orders for Statewide Multi-Regional Projects


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Related Links

Questions or Comments?

  • For more information please call us at (916) 341-5900