Wetlands Permitting (Section 401)

Laws of the United States and the State of Iowa have assigned the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) with specific and different regulatory roles designed to protect the waters within and on the State's boundaries.

A Section 401 Water Quality Certificate is Iowa Department of Natural Resource's certification that a project will not violate state water quality standards and is required before the Corps of Engineers can issue a Section 404 permit.

Construction, excavation or filling in streams, lakes, wetlands, or on the flood plains may require permits from both the Corps and Iowa DNR. A Joint Application Form (Protecting Iowa Waters) shall be submitted to both agencies to begin the permit process for any of the following activities:

  • cutting the bank of a river, stream, or lake;
  • any excavation or dredging in a wetland, lake, stream or river;
  • channel changes or relocations (including stream straightening);
  • construction of any permanent dock, pier, wharf, seawall, boat ramp, beach, intake or outfall structure on a stream, river or lake;
  • placement of any fill, riprap, or similar material in a stream, river, lake, or wetland;
  • construction of a dam across any waterway;
  • placement of fill, construction of levees, roadways and bridges; and similar activities on a floodplain; or
  • construction of buildings on a flood plain.
  • Any construction on, above, or under all fee title lands and waters, dedicated lands and waters under the jurisdiction of the Natural Resource Commission (Commission) and managed by the Commission for public access to a meandered sovereign lake or meandered sovereign river; meandered sovereign lakes; meandered sovereign rivers; and sovereign islands (except those portions of the Iowa River and Mississippi River where title has been conveyed to Charter Cities). Sovereign Lands Construction Permit

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources also requires permits for the construction and operation of water and wastewater treatment facilities, water withdrawal, water storage, and solid waste disposal and should be contacted for information about these permits.

US Army Corps of Engineers:
Joint Application Form
Joint Application Form

Chapter 61: Water Quality Standards

US Army Corps of Engineers: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Rock Island District - Public Notices
Omaha District/DNR - Public Notices

2017 Nationwide Permits
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is soliciting comments for the reissuance of the existing nationwide permits (NWPs), general conditions, and definitions, with some modifications. NWPs are general permits that authorize specific activities which involve the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands.

The Corps is also proposing to issue two new NWPs and one new general condition. The Corps is requesting comment on all aspects of these proposed nationwide permits. The comment period began on June 1, 2016 and will end on August 1, 2016. The purpose of this Federal Register notice is to solicit comments on the proposed new and modified NWPs, as well as the NWP general conditions and definitions. 

Shortly after the publication of this Federal Register notice, each Corps district will publish a public notice to solicit comments on its proposed regional conditions for these NWPs.

Submit your comments to the Corps of Engineers by August 1, 2016.
You may submit comments to the Corps, identified by docket number COE-2015-0017 and/or RIN 0710-AA73, by any of the following methods:
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

  • E-mail: NWP2017@usace.army.mil.
    Include the docket number, COE-2015-0017, in the subject line of the message.

  • Mail: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: CECW-CO-R, 441 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20314-1000.

  • Hand Delivery / Courier:  
    Due to security requirements, the Corps cannot receive comments by hand delivery or courier

Please Note:  The proposed rule would establish new and revise existing information collection requirements. If you wish to comment on the information collection requirements in this proposed rule, please note that the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information contained in this proposed rule between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment to OMB on the proposed information collection requirements is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it by July 1, 2016.
Contact Information
Christine Schwake
Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources
Wallace State Office Building
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0034
Phone: 515-725-8399
Fax: 515-725-8202
US Department of the Army, Rock Island
Rock Island District Corps of Engineers
Clock Tower Building - PO Box 2004
Rock Island, IL 61204-2004
Phone: 309-794-5376
Fax: 309-794-5191

US Department of the Army, Omaha
Omaha District Corps of Engineers
8901 South 154th Street
Omaha, NE 68138-3611
Phone: 402-896-0896


Outstanding Iowa Waters
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