401 Water Quality Certification
What is a 401 Certification?
The federal Clean Water Act gives authority to each state to issue a 401 Water Quality Certification (401 Certification) for any project that needs a Federal 404 Permit. The 401 Certification is a verification by the state that the project will not violate water quality standards. The department works with applicants to avoid and minimize impacts to water. As part of the 401 Certification, the department may require actions on projects to protect water quality. These required actions are called conditions.
A 401Certification is needed when placing material, or fill, into the jurisdictional waters of the United States. Examples are: culverts under road crossings, rip rap along stream banks and stormwater outfall pipes. The term jurisdictional waters here refers to large lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands, including those that don't always contain water. The permitting and certification process is shared between the department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. More details can be found at the St. Louis Corps District's Regulatory website.
Following is information about how to apply for a 401 Certification, along with information about the conditions that will apply for 404 Nationwide Permits in Missouri.
How do I apply for a 401 Water Quality Certification?
- If you are considering a project that may involve placing materials in a lake, river, stream or wetland (including dry streams or wetlands) contact the Corps to find out if the project you are planning is in jurisdictional waters and is a regulated activity. The Corps has the sole authority to determine this. A map of the Corps Districts, including contact numbers, will help you determine which office you should contact.
- Many activities involving relatively minor impacts are authorized under Nationwide Permits, or NWPs. To find out if your project fits one of these categories, visit the Little Rock District Corps' site on Nationwide Permits, General Conditions and Definitions to see the descriptions and limitations. After you contact the Corps about your project, they will send you a letter authorizing your project under a particular permit. Although the Corps sends the department a copy of the letters to applicants authorizing projects as NWPs, those letters generally do not contain all of the information needed for a complete 401 Certification application. If the Corp's letter to you indicates that you must obtain an individual 401 certification, please send your application materials directly to us. If they state that the Department of Natural Resources has 'conditionally certified' your activity, and have enclosed our conditions, you need nothing further from us.
- If you are planning a project in jurisdictional waters, and the Corps has stated you will need an individual certification, you will need to provide certain information before your 401 Certification can be processed. The department has developed an Application Checklist listing information you must provide. The form used when applying to the Corps for a 404 permit (ENG Form 4345) includes most of the information needed for a 401 Certification. You may use this form to apply for your 401 Certification if you wish and attach any additional information needed. You may also need to provide a mitigation plan when impacting a jurisdictional stream and/or wetland. See the guidelines on appropriate mitigation.
- Submit your application to:
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Water Protection Program, 401 Unit
P.O. Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176
A certification costs $75. (A blanket authorization costs nothing.) You will receive an invoice along with the certification decision letter. Please do not send a check until the invoice is mailed to you. The invoice contains information on how to make payment. Payment must be received within 10 days of receipt of the certification decision letter (15 days for government agencies). Upon receipt of the fee, a copy of the certification will be mailed to the appropriate office of the Corps of Engineers to inform them the certification is now in effect and final.
How can I get more information on 404 permits or 401 certifications?
For more information on 401 certifications, contact the department
by email or by calling
Missouri Water Quality Certification Conditions
Department Seeking 401 Public Notice Comments
Joint Public Notices Open For Comment - These public notices are issued jointly between the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Water Protection Program and the Corps.