Note: Most states have enacted laws and regulations to protect wetlands. In many cases, these rules are established to define the state's role in the "§404 permit/§401 certification process." This process involves the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and your state environmental agency. To learn more about the wetlands permitting process go to the CICA Wetlands Regulations/Permit page.
How Are Wetlands Activities Regulated by Arizona? The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) administers regulations for wetlands in Arizona through its §401 water quality program. The basic premise of the program is that no discharge of dredged or fill material can be permitted if a practicable alternative exists that is less damaging to the aquatic environment or if the nation's waters would be significantly degraded. In applying for a permit, the applicant must show that they have: taken steps to avoid wetland impacts where practicable; minimize potential impacts to wetlands; provided compensation for any remaining, unavoidable impacts through activities to restore or create wetlands. The program is jointly administered between the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA. The Corps duties include: administering the day-to-day program, including individual permit decisions and jurisdictional determinations; developing policy and guidance; enforcing Section 404 provisions. The EPA is responsible for: developing and interpreting environmental criteria used in evaluating permit applications; determining the scope of geographic jurisdiction; identifying activities that are exempt; review/comments on individual permit applications; has the authority to veto the Corps' permit decision; elevating specific cases; enforcing Section 404 provisions. The Corps has a number of authorization mechanisms including permits, letters of permission, and regional or state specific permissions. An individual permit is required for projects that have potentially significant impacts. Individual permits require an application form describing the proposed activity be submitted to the Corps. Once the application is complete, the Corps issues a public notice containing the information needed to evaluate the likely impact of the activity. Notice is sent to all interested parties including adjacent property owners, government agencies and others who have requested notice. A hearing may be requested for cause. However, for discharges that have only minimal adverse effects, the Corps have developed general permits that can be issued on a nationwide, regional or state basis for particular types of activities (e.g., minor road crossings, utility line backfill, flood control projects). General permits are developed and require the same public notice requirements and opportunity for public hearing. Once issued, the general permit may be modified or revoked if the activities are found to have adverse impacts. General permits are issued for a specified time period, usually five years. Currently there are 40 nationwide general permits (NWP). These NWPs have been CWA 401 certified by ADEQ and many contain State specific conditions in addition to the Corps requirements. ADEQ has authority under Section 401 of the CWA to grant, deny or waive water quality certification for both individual and nationwide permits. The Corps cannot issue a permit, individual or general, where ADEQ hasn't approved or waived certification or where ADEQ has denied certification.
Wetlands. Wetlands are areas inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency or duration sufficient to support, and under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.
Regulated Wetland Activities. The Department reviews all individual and some nationwide §404 permits for the discharge of dredged or fill material.
Exempt Wetland Activities. Projects on Native American Reservations are not reviewed by the DEQ.
Water Environment Federation. The WEF Web site provides access to a wetlands related technical discussion area, as well as publications and other information on wetlands.
Wetlands Regulation Center. The Wetlands Regulation Center Web site contains information on laws, policies and regulations concerning activities regulated under Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act.
Association of State Wetland Managers. The Association of State Wetland Managers Web site provides information on wetlands news and events, including new regulations/legislation, upcoming conferences and events, publications, and more.
Society of Wetland Scientists. The Society of Wetland Scientists Web site provides access to on-line scientific wetlands journals and a wetlands discussion forum, as well as information on upcoming wetlands conferences and events.
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