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 Regulatory Program is committed to protecting the nation's aquatic resources and navigation capacity, while allowing reasonable development through fair and balanced decisions. The Corps evaluates permit applications for essentially all construction activities that occur in the Nation's waters, including wetlands.
The Regulatory Program administers and enforces Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899; Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1972, as amended; and Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. Under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, a Corps permit is required for work or structures in, over, or under navigable waters of the United States. Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, a Corps 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' Section 404 regulatory authority. Under Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, the Corps regulates the transport and disposal of dredged material at designated ocean sites.
All Corps permit decisions are subject to various other federal laws applicable to federal actions, such as the Endangered Species Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act