New EPA Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determination Website

Richard Aldredge

In an effort to be more transparent with the public, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determination Website. This website allows the public to search for jurisdictional determinations (JD) that have been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the EPA since August 28, 2015 using an interactive mapping tool and database. The tool also allows the user to filter the data by geographic location or USACE District and provides a link to the USACE’s Other Regulated Material (ORM) Jurisdictional Determinations and Permit Decisions webpage for additional information such as pending and final individual permits. Although this is an interesting new tool, it is important to note that there are two different types of jurisdictional determinations: Preliminary Jurisdictional Determinations (PJDs) and Approved Jurisdictional Determinations (AJDs).

A PJD is the most common type of JD and is applicable when the applicant has concluded that all aquatic resources in the project area are likely jurisdictional and they want to proceed with permitting under that assumption. A PJD is typically a simpler process that can be completed by the USACE by a desktop determination and does not require additional agency coordination.

An AJD is applicable when the applicant has concluded that some of the aquatic resources in the project area are potentially non-jurisdictional. An AJD is a more complicated process as it typically requires the applicant to complete an eight-page form, a field review by the USACE and EPA, and USACE headquarters approval. 

The interactive mapping tool only allows the user to see the general location of an AJD site and does not show the boundaries of any delineated waterbodies or wetlands included in the AJD. See a screen shot below for local project example.

In conclusion, this website is a good starting point to see if an AJD has already been made on your project site; however, it is very limited and does not provide access to PJDs or waters of the United States. Freese and Nichols has a team of qualified scientists experienced in conducting JDs and wetland delineations who can assist in identifying the types and boundaries of potential waters of the United States and Clean Water Act permitting requirements for your project. Contact your FNI project manager for more information.