A Jurisdictional Determination (JD) is the procedure of identifying and locating jurisdictional waters of the United States regulated by the Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers & Harbors Act of 1899, and is commonly referred to as the “JD process”, a “wetland determination” or “delineation”. This process is essential when investigating, planning, designing, or submitting an application for a permit from the Corps to determine if the proposed activity will impact jurisdictional waters of the United States.
The Corps receives thousands of requests each year to perform JDs. Due to limited staff and resources, response time can be several months or longer. To expedite the JD process, we encourage applicants (commercial or private) to use a consultant to conduct wetland delineations whenever possible, especially for project areas greater than 5 acres. The consultant will delineate the extent of wetlands and other waters of the United States within the project area. The consultant should then submit the delineation report to the Corps for concurrence. Once a JD is completed for the project area, a determination of permit requirements can be made at that time.
To request a Jurisdictional Determination prior to submitting a permit application, please include a letter which addresses the information needed to complete an Approved Jurisdictional Determination. In most cases, a Preliminary Jurisdictional Determination is the most efficient type of JD for a given site. Preliminary JDs are non-binding and advisory in nature and cannot be appealed, while an Approved JD is appealable.
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