The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been regulating activities in the nation's waters since the 1890s. Until the 1960's the primary purpose of the regulatory program was to protect navigation. Since then, as a result of laws and court decisions, the program has been broadened so that it now considers the full public interest for both the protection and utilization of our nation's waters..
The regulatory authorities and responsibilities of the Corps of Engineers are based on the following laws:
Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403) prohibits the obstruction or alteration of navigable waters of the United States without a permit from the Corps of Engineers.
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344). Section 301 of this Act prohibits the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States without a Section 404 permit from the Corps of Engineers.
Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, as amended (33 U.S.C. 1413) authorizes the Corps of Engineers to issue permits for the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of dumping it into ocean waters.
Other laws may also affect the processing and evaluation of applications for Corps of Engineers permits. Among these laws are the National Environmental Policy Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Federal Power Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.