Clean Water Act Section 404 Permits

SKU: C-311Duration: 37 Minutes

Pay-per-view (PPV) format perfect for individual users.

Get immediate access to this interactive eLearning course online. Must be used within 30 days, expires 48 hours after launch.

Language:  English

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Course Details


Training Time: 37 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: Clean Water Act Section 404

Languages: English

The Clean Water Act (CWA) protects "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) by prohibiting the discharge of dredged or fill materials without a Section 404 permit. This online training course provides general guidance for which waters are considered WOTUS, and the requirements for obtaining a Section 404 permit.

Learning Objectives

  • Define the term "Waters of the United States"
  • Describe the purpose of Clean Water Act Section 404 permits
  • Describe the difference between General and Individual permits
  • Describe the Section 404 permit application process
  • Describe the requirements for discharging dredged and fill material in waters of the United States
  • Identify and describe common practices to avoid impacts to wetlands, and other aquatic resources
  • Describe the compensation options for unavoidable impacts

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What is a water of the United States?
Waters of the United States (WOTUS) include: traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, territorial seas, impoundments, tributaries, and adjacent waters.

What is a wetland?
A wetland is an area that is inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration to support vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. If it is unclear if a wetland is a WOTUS, a wetland delineation study should be performed.

What activities require a section 404 permit?
A Section 404 permit is required for activities such as fill for development, water resource projects, mining projects, and infrastructure development.

What is compensatory mitigation?
If a project has the potential to impact waters of the United States, adverse impacts must be mitigated by avoidance, minimization, or compensation.

What is an alternatives analysis?
Alternatives to a proposed project site must be considered and an analysis is conducted to determine the least environmentally damaging alternative. A permit is only issued for the least environmentally damaging alternative.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of dredged or fill material into a water of the United States without a permit. Where there is a potential for adverse impacts to WOTUS, an alternatives analysis must be done. This involves exploring options that will avoid or minimize negative impacts. If impacts are unavoidable, compensation must be provided to receive a permit that approves the activities. The preferred compensation method is purchasing credits from a mitigation bank for a wetland that has been restored because this option has the greatest likelihood for successfully replacing the lost functions of the impacted site.

Additional Resources

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