Wetlands are characterized by having hydric soils, hydrophytic plants (plants that can grow fully or partly submerged in water), and wetland hydrology. Land is characterized as having wetland hydrology when, under normal circumstances, the land surface is either inundated or the upper portion of the soil is saturated at a sufficient frequency and duration to create anaerobic conditions.
Wetlands are regulated by the NC Division of Water Resources (NCDWR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The USACE determines the presence and location of wetlands that are jurisdictional under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. See links below.
During the process of development review or conducting a stream determination, the Town may note the presence of jurisdictional waters and/or wetlands on the site in question. Before receiving Town approval for a development project, the project must meet NC Division of Water Resources 401 Water Quality Certification and US Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit requirements for any proposed wetland and/or stream impacts. No disturbance of wetlands is allowed without first receiving a permit.
Learn more about wetlands certification and permitting processes:
401 Water Quality Certification (NCDWR 401 & Buffer Permitting Branch)
A Section 401 General Water Quality Certification will be required for any activity that may result in a discharge of pollutants into “Waters of the United States,” or for which an issuance of a federal permit is required. The issuance of a required Section 401 certification is a prerequisite to the issuance of a Section 404 permit. If project impacts exceed Nationwide Permit impact thresholds, an Individual Section 401 Water Quality Certification is required. In addition, as part of the 401 certification review, NCDWR will also evaluate compliance with the Jordan Lake Buffer Rules.
404 Permit (USACE Regulatory Permit Program)
Impacts to “Waters of the United States” (including wetlands, streams, and ponds that are hydrologically connected to a navigable water) come under the jurisdiction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), as authorized in Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. A 404 Permit is required for the discharge of fill material into streams, wetlands and open waters. Final determination of permit applicability lies with the USACE and the North Carolina Division of Water Resources (NCDWR).