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The Department of the Army regulatory program is one of the oldest in the Federal Government. Initially it served a fairly simple, straightforward purpose: to protect and maintain the navigable capacity of the nation's waters. Time, changing public needs, evolving policy, case law, and new statutory mandates have changed the complexion of the program, adding to its breadth, complexity, and authority.

Mission Statement
The Regulatory Division is committed to the protection, wise management, and use of the nation's aquatic resources. We shall discharge this duty in a manner that both fulfills the public trust and our commitment to public service.


Corps of Engineers Regulatory Jurisdiction Graphic 


The geographic jurisdiction of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (RHA) includes all navigable waters of the United States which are defined (33 CFR Part 329) as, "those waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or are presently used, or have been used in the past, or may be susceptible to use to transport interstate or foreign commerce." This jurisdiction extends seaward to include all ocean waters within a zone three nautical miles from the coast line (the "territorial seas"). Limited authorities extend across the outer continental shelf for artificial islands, installations and other devices (see 43 U.S.C. 1333 (e)). Activities requiring permits under Section 10 of RHA include structures (e.g., piers, wharfs, breakwaters, bulkheads, jetties, weirs, transmission lines) and work such as dredging or disposal of dredged material, or excavation, filling, or other modifications to the navigable waters of the United States.

The Clean Water Act uses the term "navigable waters" which is defined (Section 502(7)) as "waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.  

**For the most current information regarding the definition of Waters of the United States, please visit the Regulatory Jurisdictional Information page (HERE).

Activities, requiring Section 404 permits are limited to discharges of dredged or fill materials into the waters of the United States. These discharges include return water from dredged material disposed of on the upland and generally any fill material (e.g., rock, sand, dirt) used to construct fast land for site development, roadways, erosion protection, etc.

The geographic scope of Section 103 of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 is those waters of the open seas lying seaward of the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured. Along coast lines this baseline is generally taken to be the low water line. Thus, there is jurisdiction overlap with the Clean Water Act. By interagency agreement with EPA, the discharge of dredged material in the territorial seas is regulated under the Section 103 criteria rather than those developed for Section 404.

The legislative origins of the program are the Rivers and Harbors Acts of 1890 (superseded) and 1899 (33 U.S.C. 401, et seq.). Various sections establish permit requirements to prevent unauthorized obstruction or alteration of any navigable water of the United States. The most frequently exercised authority is contained in Section 10 (33 U.S.C. 403) which covers construction, excavation, or deposition of materials in, over, or under such waters, or any work which would affect the course, location, condition, or capacity of those waters. The authority is granted to the Secretary of the Army. Other permit authorities in the Act are Section 9 for dams and dikes, Section 13 for refuse disposal, and Section 14 for temporary occupation of work built by the United States. Various pieces of legislation have modified these authorities, but not removed them.

In 1972, amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act added what is commonly called Section 404 authority (33 U.S.C. 1344) to the program. The Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, is authorized to issue permits, after notice and opportunity for public hearings, for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States at specified disposal sites. Selection of such sites must be in accordance with guidelines developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army; these guidelines are known as the 404(b)(1) Guidelines. The discharge of all other pollutants into waters of the United States is regulated under Section 402 of the Act which supersedes the Section 13 permitting authority mentioned above. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act was further amended in 1977 and given the common name of "Clean Water Act" and was again amended in 1987 to modify criminal and civil penalty provisions and to add an administrative penalty provision.

Also in 1972, with enactment of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, was authorized by Section 103 to issue permits for the transportation of dredged material to be dumped in the ocean. This authority also carries with it the requirement of notice and opportunity for public hearing. Disposal sites for such discharges are selected in accordance with criteria developed by EPA in consultation with the Secretary of the Army.

Most of these permit authorities (with specific exception of Section 9) have been delegated by the Secretary of the Army to the Chief of Engineers and his authorized representatives. Section 10 authority was formally delegated on May 24, 1971, with Section 404 and 103 authorities delegated on March 12, 1973. Those exercising these authorities are directed to evaluated the impact of the proposed work on the public interest. Other applicable factors (such as the 404(b)(1) Guidelines and ocean dumping criteria) must also be met, of course. In delegating this authority, the Secretary of the Army qualified it to "...[be] subject to such conditions as I or my authorized representatives may from time to time impose."

Additional clarification of this delegation is provided in the program's implementing regulations (33 CFR 320-332). Division and district engineers are authorized to issue conditioned permits (Part 325.4) and to modify, suspend, or revoke them (Part 325.7). Division and district engineers also have authority to issue alternate types of permits such as letters of permission and regional general permits (Part 325.2). In certain situations the delegated authority is limited (Part 325.8).

This delegation recognizes the decentralized nature and management philosophy of the Corps of Engineers organization. Regulatory program management and administration is focused at the district office level, with policy oversight at higher levels. The backbone of the program is the Department of the Army regulations (33 CFR 320-332) which provide the district engineer the broad policy guidance needed to administer day-to-day operation of the program. These regulations have evolved over time, changing to reflect added authorities, developing case law, and in general the concerns of the public. They are developed through formal rule making procedures.


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A Standard Permit is required when a proposed project does not meet the criteria to qualify for a General Permit, Nationwide Permit, or Letter of Permission. A Standard Permit usually has a 21-day comment period under public noticing, though it can be as short as 15 days or up to 30 days. A copy of the permit drawings and a description of the project are mailed out to the adjacent property owners and the applicant and their consultant. All other interested parties have to access pending public notices from the web. Processing time for these types of permits is usually 60 to 120 days from the receipt of a complete application in non-controversial projects. Controversial or larger projects may take longer.

Attachment 2_DMMA.pdfThe term "general permit" means a Department of the Army authorization that is issued on a nationwide or regional (District-wide or more limited geographic scope) basis for a category of activities when: those activities are substantially similar in nature and cause only minimal individual and cumulative impacts. General permits are a way to reduce the burden of the regulatory program on the public and ensure timely issuance of permits while effectively administering the laws and regulations which establish and govern the program.

General permits are reviewed every five years. An assessment of the cumulative impacts of work authorized under the general permit is performed at that time if it is in the public interest to do so. In most instances, anyone complying with the conditions of the general permit can receive project specific authorization. Anyone not complying with the conditions of a general permit may still receive authorization via a "standard permit", but the application must be individually evaluated and coordinated with third parties, including the federal and state resource agencies. Review of an application for a "standard permit" takes additional time to complete as conflict resolution may be required.

A list of the applicable general permits can be obtained by contacting a project manager in your geographical location. Below, view the current list of general permits administered by the Jacksonville District. As additional permits are reauthorized, or new permits are effected, they will be added.

State Programmatic General Permits (SPGP):

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has issued a State Programmatic General Permit (SPGP IV-R1), replacing SPGP IV which authorizes the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or designee to administer on behalf of the Corps. The purpose of the SPGP is to reduce the duplication of permitting effort between the Corps and DEP. The majority of the categories of work authorized under the SPGP are for minor actions which are currently authorized by existing Corps’ Nationwide and Regional General Permits. The implementation of the SPGP will eliminate the need for separate approval from the Corps for minor work located in waters of the United States, including navigable waters, when that work is authorized by the DEP.

SPGP IV-R1 Documents

Permit Instrument

General Conditions 

Manatee Key 2013

Standard Manatee Conditions for In-Water Work-2011 

General Dock Construction Guidelines 

Johnson's Seagrass Construction Key

Corps County Responsibility 

Gulf Sturgeon Critical Habitat Maps