Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401


This Program regulates discharges of fill and dredged material to all waters of the state, including waters of the U.S. under Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. Additional protections are provided for wetlands, special aquatic sites and headwaters because these waterbodies have high resource value, are vulnerable to filling, and are not protected by other programs. The Program is involved with protection of special-status species and regulation of hydromodification impacts. The Program encourages watershed-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 watershed or landscape level. The core of the Program's protection strategies is demonstration of impact avoidance first, followed by minimization, and then mitigation to compensate for impacts and ensure no net loss of water resources.

Under federal Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 every applicant for a federal permit or license for any activity which may result in a discharge to a water body must obtain State Water Quality Certification (Certification) that the proposed activity will comply with state water quality standards. Most Certifications are issued in connection with U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (Corps) CWA section 404 permits for dredge and fill discharges.

Starting in 2016, project applicants conducting dredge, fill, excavation or grading in waters of the state will be required to upload project information into EcoAtlas. Starting in 2017, some project applicants will be required to perform project assessments using CRAM on their project sites. Some of these projects may need pre-project CRAM assessment on their Project site performed during the summer of 2016. See EcoAtlas and CRAM.

Available Documents and Guidance Material

If you wish to be informed of the status and/or final certification action on any of these projects and/or for further information, please contact the staff noted below.
We encourage public input during the certification process. Comments on any of these projects may be submitted in writing by email or U.S. Postal Service (see the addresses below). Project descriptions included here are provided by the applicant. These lists are updated approximately every 2 weeks.

North Lahontan Region
Attn: Douglas Cushman - 530 542-5417
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
2501 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150-7704
South Lahontan Region
Attn: Tiffany Steinert - 760 241-7305
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
Our new location is:
15095 Amargosa Rd., Bldg 2 - Suite 210
Victorville, CA 92394