Waters Of The U.S. Rule Status and Guidance

Please follow the link listed above to access the Corps Headquarters, Regulatory Program and Permits webpage for the latest information and announcements regarding Waters of the U.S.  

Submittal Process:  All permit applications, pre-construction notifications, requests for jurisdictional determinations, compliance certifications, and monitoring reports for projects within the Albuquerque District should be submitted electronically to the following general email boxes.

Activities within New Mexico: 


Activities within Colorado: 
Activities within West Texas: 
Activities within Navajo Nation:

Wildfire Guidance and Emergency Permitting: In response to the wildfires in New Mexico and Colorado, the Albuquerque District has created a web page to provide information and guidance on wildfires and emergency permitting procedures for these events. This information can be found at www.spa.usace.army.mil/reg/wildfires.

COVID-19: In response to the updated COVID-19 guidance for DoD installations and facilities dated March 1, 2022, the Regulatory Division (RD) offices have reopened with site-specific restrictions. Public access and COVID-19 protocols, including indoor mask-wearing, are based on CDC COVID-19 Community Levels in the county where the office is located and subject to change without notice. Prospective visitors are encouraged to call ahead whenever possible to verify the office is accepting visitors. The RD offices have also resumed accepting mail but continue to prefer and encourage electronic submittals. Please visit our Regulatory Division Contacts web page for contact information, including where to send electronic submittals.

Regulatory Program Links


Regulatory (Permits)

The Regulatory Program is committed to protecting the Nation's aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions. The Corps evaluates permit applications for essentially all construction activities that occur in the Nation's waters, including wetlands.

Latest News

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On December 30, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army (the agencies) announced the final "Revised Definition of 'Waters of the United States'" rule. On January 18, 2023, the rule was published in the Federal Register; the rule will be effective on March 20, 2023. The agencies developed this rule with consideration of the relevant provisions of the Clean Water Act and the statute as a whole, relevant Supreme Court case law, and the agencies’ technical expertise after more than 45 years of implementing the longstanding pre-2015 “waters of the United States” framework. This rule also considers the best available science and extensive public comment to establish a definition of “waters of the United States” that supports public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth. More information about the final rule is available at: https://www.epa.gov/wotus/revising-definition-waters-united-states.

20 January 2023 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), as part of an interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, is announcing the availability of the draft changes to the 2022 NWPL and its web address to solicit public comments.  The public now has the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to wetland indicator status ratings for two plant species in the Arid West region.  The Federal Register Notice (FRN) for the 2022 NWPL update can be found here: 2023-01026.   The public comment period ends on 21 March 2023.

The two species and their draft 2022 wetland ratings by region, as well as the FRN, can also be viewed at the NWPL homepage, https://wetland-plants.sec.usace.army.mil/, under “2022 NWPL Update Information.”  A link to provide general or species-specific comments is also available at this location. Users are encouraged to submit literature citations, herbaria records, experiential references, monitoring data, and other relevant information.  Specific knowledge of, or studies related to, individual species are particularly helpful.  Commenters should use their regional botanical and ecological expertise, field observations, reviews of the most recent indicator status information, appropriate botanical literature, floras, herbarium specimens with notation of habitat and associated species, habit data, relevant studies, and historic list information.  Providing ratings without supporting documentation or information is not recommended.  All submitted comments and information will be compiled and sent to the National Panel for their consideration.

USACE is also seeking comments regarding the NWPL update process and a proposed change to update the NWPL every three years, rather than the present every two years.  Detailed information on the update process, protocol, and technical issues can be found in the following documents (available on the “NWPL Publications” web page referenced above):

  1. Lichvar, Robert W. and Minkin, Paul. Concepts and Procedures for Updating the National Wetland Plant List. Sept 2008. ERDC/CRREL TN-08-3

  2. Lichvar, Robert W. and Gillrich, Jennifer J. Final Protocol for Assigning Wetland Indicator Status Ratings during National Wetland Plant List Update. Sept 2011. ERDC/CRREL TN-11-1

USACE administers the NWPL for the United States and its territories.  The NWPL provides plant species indicator status ratings, which are used in determining whether the hydrophytic vegetation factor is met when conducting wetland delineations under the Clean Water Act and wetland determinations under the Wetland Conservation Provisions of the Food Security Act. Other applications of the NWPL include wetland restoration, establishment, and enhancement projects.  Additions or deletions to the NWPL represent new records, range extensions, nomenclatural and taxonomic changes, and newly proposed species.  The latest review process began in 2022 and included review by Regional Panels and the National Panel. 

this manual will provide a standardized process, a uniform datasheet, and unified field procedures to identify and delineate the OHWM of rivers and streams located throughout the Nation. The National OHWM Manual will help to promote accurate, consistent, and efficient OHWM delineation practices by practitioners and by USACE and other agencies.

USACE is pleased to announce the release of ENG Forms 6116 (1-9), Automated Wetland Determination Data Sheets (ADS), and the associated “User Guide for Automated Wetland Determination Data Sheets”. Practitioners, including the public, should, at a minimum, utilize the PDF versions of the approved forms to document the presence or absence of wetlands for the applications related to the administration of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA). The Excel-based ADS is an optional tool.  However, the PDF versions do not provide the automated features found in the Excel-based versions. The PDF data forms included in the Regional Supplements were intended to be manually completed by hand as opposed to the automated data sheets. A subsequent collaboration between the USACE Detroit District and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Wetlands Regulatory Assistance Program resulted in the development of an automated, Excel-based ADS for each of the 10 Regional Supplements and the associated User Guide. To access these forms please follow the link above and proceed to the "General Information" tab. 

On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published a final rule in the Federal Register (86 FR 2744) announcing the reissuance of 12 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and 4 new NWPs, as well as the reissuance of NWP general conditions and definitions with some modifications. These 16 NWPs will go into effect on March 15, 2021, and will expire on March 14, 2026.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Albuquerque Districts (South Pacific Division), the Corps Omaha District, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Regions 6 , 8, and  9 jointly announce the availability of the Beta Streamflow Duration Assessment Method (SDAM) for the Arid West (dated February 2021). The method is a rapid assessment tool to help distinguish between ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial streamflow at the reach scale. The SDAM may help in providing technical guidance for identifying waters that may be subject to regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Pacific Division has realigned the regulatory district boundaries within the state of Colorado. Effective immediately, the Albuquerque District will administer the Corps’ Regulatory Program in western Colorado.

 2021-10-18: The Albuquerque and Omaha Districts announce the availability of the Colorado Stream Quantification Tool (CSQT) Review Checklist

The Albuquerque District has finalized and approved the use of the CSQT Review Checklist to ensure accuracy in the CSQT stream assessment by providing regulators and practitioners with a rapid method to determine: (1) whether sufficient data are provided; (2) whether the practitioner followed the methods outlined in the CSQT User Manual to collect data and calculate field values; and (3) whether the field values are reasonable. For more information or to download the CSQT files, visit the SPA Mitigation webpage at www.spa.usace.army.mil/reg/mitigation.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a final rule in the Federal Register that reissues 40 nationwide permits and issues one new nationwide permit for work in wetlands and other waters that are regulated by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The final rule was published in the Federal Register today. The final rule is available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/12/27/2021-27441/reissuance-and-modification-of-nationwide-permits and the decision documents for these nationwide permits are available at www.regulations.gov (docket number COE-2020-0002).

The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“the agencies”) are in receipt of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona’s August 30, 2021, order vacating and remanding the Navigable Waters Protection Rule in the case of Pascua Yaqui Tribe v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In light of this order, the agencies have halted implementation of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (“NWPR”) nationwide and are interpreting “waters of the United States” consistent with the pre-2015 regulatory regime until further notice. The agencies are working expeditiously to move forward with the rulemakings announced on June 9, 2021, in order to better protect our nation’s vital water resources that support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth. The agencies remain committed to crafting a durable definition of “waters of the United States” that is informed by diverse perspectives and based on an inclusive foundation.

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