Wetlands State Resource Locator

State Wetlands Information Tool (SWIFT)


West Virginia

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.

Primary State Wetlands Web Page. This web page should explain the state wetlands program and provide links to various wetlands resources.

Construction Permit Process - State Rules

    How Are Wetlands Activities Regulated by West Virginia? The West Virginia Environmental Quality Board currently regulates wetlands under its requirements governing water quality standards. In 2001, a bill was introduced in the West Virginia legislature that would expand the state's water quality laws by authorizing the Division of Environmental Protection to promulgate rules relating to operating permits. Under the current law and the proposed bill, wetlands are protected as waters of the state. West Virginia issues certification based on a project's compliance with state water quality standards. Most of the certifications issued are for dredge and fill operations regulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Regulatory Definitions
    Wetlands. Wetlands are "areas inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions." Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.

    Wetland Categories. There are four tiers of water quality protection established under the state's antidegradation policy. Tier 1 protection mandates that existing water uses and levels of water quality necessary to protect the existing uses are maintained and protected. Tier 2 protection orders that existing high quality waters are maintained at their high quality level unless, after evaluation under the state's continual planning process and opportunity for public comment and hearing, it is determined that a lower water quality is needed to accomplish an important economic and social goal. Tier 2.5 protects waters of special concern located in West Virginia. Tier 3 waters are outstanding national resource waters and are protected, maintained, and improved when necessary.

    Regulated Wetland Activities. The state's current law and the proposed bill regulate any activity that requires a permit or a water quality certification under state or federal law. This includes Clean Water Act §404 dredge and fill permits or any activity requiring a §401 Clean Water Act certification. The bill covers activities subject to nonpoint source control requirements or regulations and any activity that is subject to state regulations created to protect water quality.

Wetland Regulatory Background Information

Organizations/Non-Government Programs
  • 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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