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


Rock Island District Corps of Engineers Public Notice for Public Comment:

2017-0525            Corps of Engineers Public Notice for Regional Permit 36

Targeted Water Quality Improvement Constructed/Restored Wetlands (Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship projects)

                                                Corps Public Comment Period Ends:       May 24, 2017

DNR PUBLIC NOTICE OF INTENT TO ISSUE SECTION 401 WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) proposes to issue Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Rock Island District Corps of Engineer’s (Corps) Regional Permit 36.  Section 401 Water Quality Certification is the statement that a project will not cause a violation of Iowa's Water Quality Standards.

The Corps issued a public notice on April 25, 2017 for the proposed Regional Permit 36 (RP 36). This permit will authorize the placement of fill material into Waters of the United States for the purposes of Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s (IDALS) Targeted Water Quality Improvement Constructed/Restored Wetlands projects. 

Proposed RP 36 will authorize the placement of fill materials in waters of the U.S. in 45 north central Iowa counties, to create wetlands and ponded water through the construction of earthen embankments and/or dams when funding or technical assistance is being provided through IDALS, with Corps approval in conjunction with a provided watershed plan where IDALS assumes the lead agency role and is ultimately responsible for the project's success, except within the exterior boundaries of Federally recognized Indian Reservations or Lands. This permit is proposed to be valid until July 31, 2021, unless re-issued or modified prior to that date.

The purpose of these projects is for activities in Waters of the U.S., including jurisdictional wetlands that are part of an acceptable watershed strategy, whose purpose is to identify implementation activities needed to improve water quality by limiting the amount of sediments and agricultural pollutants (mainly nitrates), entering the nation's rivers and ultimately, the Gulf of Mexico, and restore functions that support and/or enhance aquatic biological resources at the project site. The constructed or restored wetlands will slow storm water and agricultural drain tile water runoff and provide habitat for microorganisms, which will allow a large percentage of nitrates to denitrify before they enter larger waterways, control erosion and improve wildlife habitat. Wetlands, through the accumulation of organic matter, also act as sinks for nutrients and other chemical compounds, reducing the amounts of these substances in the water column. The activity must be designed to avoid and minimize adverse effects, both temporary and permanent, to waters of the U.S., to the maximum extent practicable at the project site.

The draft Section 401 Water Quality Certification for Regional Permit 36 is available below or copies of this information may be requested by calling Chris Schwake at (515) 725-8399.

Anyone wishing to comment on the intent to proceed with issuance of the Section 401 Certification must do so in writing by COB on May 30, 2017. All relevant comments will be considered. Written comments should be submitted to IDNR, Chris Schwake, Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034 or electronically at Christine.schwake@dnr.iowa.gov .  

Corps Public Notice

Draft DNR Section 401 Water Quality Certification for Regional Permit 36

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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