Discharge of Dredged and Fill Material - 401 Water Quality Certification and Waste Discharge Requirements

Most projects requiring 401 Water Quality Certification fall into two categories:

  1. Projects involving discharges of dredged or fill material to waters of the United States including wetlands and other water bodies. Such discharges may result from navigational dredging, flood control channelization, levee construction, channel clearing, fill of wetlands for development, or other activities. These projects involve the removal or placement of soil, sediment, and other materials in or near water bodies and require Corps permits under CWA Section 404. This information sheet concerns this category of activities.
  2. Projects involving construction of hydroelectric dams, power plants, and other facilities requiring Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses and projects which must secure a State water rights permit. The State Board reviews these projects for certification.
For more information on certification of projects seeking FERC licenses and water rights permits, contact:
Division of Water Rights
State Water Resources Control Board
P.O. Box 2000
Sacramento, CA 95812-2000
(916) 341-5300 (information)
(916) 341-5308 (certification team leader)

Submit a 401 Application:

Under new federal 401 Rules, you will need to submit a "Pre-Filing Meeting Request” a minimum of 30 days prior to submitting your 401 certification application. Please send your request to the following address: rb3-401Application@waterboards.ca.gov . In the subject line of the email, write: Pre-Filing Meeting Request, 401 Certification, [project name]. In the body of the email, state that you are requesting a Pre-Filing Meeting Request for the 401 certification application for the: [project name, city and county].

If you have already sent in your Pre-Filing Meeting Request and it's been 30 days since the receipt of your request, you may now send in you 401 certification application (link to application below). Submit your application to the following email address:

  • rb3-401Application@waterboards.ca.gov (25 MB file size limit. PDF files preferred. Your contact information (First and Last name, Organization, and phone number) should be included in the body of the email. Please do not submit inquiries on your application status to this mailbox.)

To fill out an application for a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification, download the application from the following website: 401 Application.

Permitting of Projects that are Responding to California Wildfires - Steps for getting Central Coast Water Board permits or authorization for projects in response to wildfires.

Fire Response and Emergency Project Application Form - fill out this form to apply for authorization to conduct a fire response or related emergency project within a water of the state.

An application fee should accompany 401 applications. The 401 Fee Calculator* describes required fee deposits and additional fees and how they are calculated.
*Be aware that this file may take several minutes to download.

Some projects (such as emergency projects and small habitat restoration projects) requiring 401 Water Quality Certification qualify for coverage under general orders. For more information on these general orders see the following links:

When submitting reports and notifications required by a 401 Water Quality Certification, please use the following coversheet:

Projects that only discharge dredge or fill material to waters of the State, and not waters of the United States, must apply for Waste Discharge Requirements.

Other Public Notices

Please call the Central Coast Regional Board Control Board at (805) 549-3147 for questions on the 401 Program.

Visit the State Board 401 Water Certification Program for further information.