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401 Water Quality Certification and Wetlands Program

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.

Resources for Applicants

What's New?

  • California Wetland Program Plan 2017 – 2022
    This plan describes wetland program development activities by signatory agencies for the purposes of developing future collaborative funding through U.S. EPA Wetland Program Development Grants and other sources.
  • State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State On April 2, 2019 the State Water Resources Control Board adopted the State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State (Procedures), for inclusion in the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters and Enclosed Bays and Estuaries and Ocean Waters of California. The Procedures consist of four major elements: 1) a wetland definition; 2) wetland delineation procedures; 3) a wetland jurisdictional framework; and 4) procedures for the submittal, review and approval of applications for Water Quality Certifications and Waste Discharge Requirements for dredge or fill activities.. The Procedures will apply to all applications for discharges of dredged or fill material to waters of the state submitted nine months after final approval by the Office of Administrative Law. Please follow the above link for complete information and official documents related to the Procedures.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • California State Auditor Report 2012-120 that included recommendations to improve the water quality certification program. This summarizes staff responses to the State Auditor's recommendations and will be updated periodically as additional progress is made.
  • CRAM Peer Review - The CRAM peer review and staff comments have been posted.

Program Description

  • 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.
  • 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

Reports

Annual Reports  »»   2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003

Contracts

Related Links

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Contacts

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

Boards Meetings, Hearings & Workshops