Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires permit authorization to discharge dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States, including wetlands. The Corps defines wetlands as those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.
Section 9 prohibits the construction of any bridge, dam, dike or causeway over or in navigable waterways of the United States without Congressional approval. Administration of Section 9 has been delegated to the Coast Guard. Structures authorized by state legislatures may be built if the affected navigable waters are totally within one state, provided that the plan is approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commanding general and the Secretary of Army (33 U.S.C. 401).
Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 requires approval prior to the accomplishment of any work in, over or under navigable waters of the United States, or which affects the course, location, condition or capacity of such waters.
The Corps of Engineers can issue permits for the transportation of dredged materials for its disposal into ocean waters where it has been determined the disposal will not degrade or endanger human health, welfare or amenities, or the marine environment, ecological system or economic potentialities. The Corps must make its permit decision pursuant to Section 102 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. The Corps must notify the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the decision to permit the disposal. If the EPA disagrees with the Corps decision, it can overrule the Corps’ decision.