The Department of the Army Regulatory Program is one of the oldest in the federal government. Initially it served a fairly simple, straightforward purpose: to protect and maintain the navigable capacity of the nation's waters. Time, changing public needs, evolving policy, case law, and new statutory mandates have changed the complexion of the program, adding to its breadth, complexity, and authority.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, through the Regulatory Program, administers and enforces Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (RHA) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Under RHA Section 10, a permit is required for work or structures in, over or under navigable waters of the United States. Under CWA Section 404, a permit is required for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. Many waterbodies and wetlands in the nation are waters of the United States and are subject to the Corps' regulatory authority.
The Regulatory Program is committed to protecting the nation's aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions. The Corps evaluates permit applications for essentially all construction activities that occur in the nation's waters, including wetlands.