Accession Number:



Waters and Wetlands: Corps of Engineers Needs to Better Support Its Decisions for Not Asserting Jurisdiction

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[Technical Report, Congressional Report]

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Section 404 of the Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of dredged or fill material into federally regulated waters without first obtaining a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Corps permit. Before 2001, the Corps asserted jurisdiction over most waters, including isolated, intrastate, nonnavigable waters, if migratory birds could use them. However, in January 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that the Corps exceeded its authority in asserting jurisdiction over such waters based solely on their use by birds. GAO was asked to examine, among other things, the 1 processes and data the Corps uses for making jurisdictional determinations 2 extent to which the Corps documents decisions that it does not have jurisdiction 3 extent to which the Corps is using its remaining authority to assert jurisdiction over isolated, intrastate, nonnavigable waters and 4 extent to which the Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency EPA are collecting data to assess the impact of the courts January 2001 ruling.

Subject Categories:

  • Ecology

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]