Water Quality Certification
The Water Quality Certification program regulates removal or placement of materials in wetlands and waterways in the State. Examples of such projects include navigational dredging, flood control channelization, levee construction, channel clearing, fill of wetlands for development, bridge piers, docks, etc. These types of projects generally require a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and the State's Water Quality Certification is issued pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to certify that the project approved by the Corps will also meet State water quality requirements.
The program protects all waters, 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. The program is involved with protection of special-status species and regulation of hydromodification impacts. The program implements the State and Federal Wetlands No Net Loss Policies, which seeks to avoid, reduce, and mitigate impacts.
Most projects are regulated by the Regional Water Boards; however the State Water Board regulates multi-region projects and supports and coordinates the Program statewide. Regional Water Board staff issues Water Quality Certifications based on information contained in application packages. Regional Water Board staff conducts inspections of WQC projects and takes appropriate enforcement action as needed.
The Central Valley Water Board dedicates 9 PYs to implement this program.