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 Texas? The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regulates wetlands through the state's water quality certification and Coastal Management Program. The TCEQ's jurisdiction under the Coastal Management Program extends only to wetlands found in coastal areas. The Commission's authority to issue water quality certifications, however, is not limited to coastal areas. The TCEQ is responsible for performing §401 certification reviews for any §404 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit application for the discharge of dredged or fill material into national waters, including wetlands. Applicants must receive a certification before they discharge substances into or adjacent to water in the state.
Mitigation Measures. A compensatory mitigation plan is required to minimize the impact of unavoidable adverse impacts after all practicable measures have been completed, before the TNRCC will issue a certification. The discharge of dredged and fill material is not certified unless the applicant proposes practicable mitigation steps to decrease the impact on the ecosystem. The state has established a mitigation bank to comply with federal regulations. Mitigation bank projects can provide for parks, recreation, scenic areas, and flood control.
Wetlands. Wetlands are "areas inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions including swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.
Wetland Categories. The TNRCC separates Tier I from Tier II projects. Tier I projects are generally small and impact less than three acres of state waters or less than 1500 linear feet of streams. Tier II projects are those that do not qualify under Tier I. These projects are always subject to individual review by the TNRCC. Tier I projects, on the other hand, do not undergo individual review unless the land impacted is a ecologically significant wetland. Ecologically significant wetlands are listed in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' regional conditions to the nationwide permits in Texas.
Regulated Wetland Activities. Any construction, operation, maintenance, or modification of facilities, structures, channels, or equipment that may result in any discharge into or adjacent to waters in the state or which may otherwise affect water quality is covered under the TNRCC's water quality certification programs.
Exempt Wetland Activities. The TNRCC can waive certification for applicants who agree to include and comply with specific water-quality related conditions in the applicant's federal permit.
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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