How do I know if I have wetlands?

If sections of your land flood, pond, or are saturated at any time during the year; or if drain tiles or ditches have been installed; or if streambanks or lake shores have been cleared of vegetation, you may have lands that are now wetlands or that have been wetlands. Consult the Wetlands ID Guide for more detail.

What should I do if I plan an activity in the wetlands area?

Use the Wetlands Activity Guide to help determine whether or not you need a permit or other approval.

Do I need a permit if I am planning an activity in an area which has been delineated as a wetland?

Not necessarily. You can find links to more information on the Wetlands Assistance Guide.

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How do I know which agency to contact concerning wetlands issue?

It can be confusing because there are seven different agencies with wetlands responsibilities. [Do we have a definitive list?] Generally, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the primary contact. When seeking assistance on restoring, enhancing, or protecting wetlands and riparian areas, you may wish to contact other agencies directly. If you are planning an activity on delineated wetlands, you should contact the Army Corps of Engineers as well as the NRCS.

Are Section 404 permits difficult to obtain?

No. In FY 1994, the Corps of Engineers processed over 48,000 applications for Section 404 permits. Over 99% were approved in an average of 27 days. Approximately 82% of the applications were approved in 16 days or less.

Why should wetlands be preserved or restored?

Wetlands provide economic, recreational, and environmental benefits. See the EPA's Wetlands index for more information.

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