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Nationwide 401 Water Quality Certification

What is a Nationwide Permit?

Nationwide Permits are a type of general permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a nationwide basis for activities having minimal impacts on the environment. Projects that propose work in water, including in streams and wetlands, may require a USACE Section 404 permit and 401 Water Quality Certification. The Nationwide Permits cover 59 categories of activities.

What is DEQ’s role?

Starting in March 2017, for projects authorized under a USACE nationwide category, DEQ began issuing 401 Water Quality Certifications directly to applicants. DEQ must issue a Section 401 WQC before work can be implemented for projects that are processed under the USACE Nationwide Permits.

Applicants that qualify for a USACE Nationwide Permit may be granted an expedited 401 WQC from DEQ. Proposed projects not covered under the USACE nationwide categories require an Individual WQC.

On Feb. 25, 2022, USACE completed a multi-year process to reissue its existing Nationwide Permits while incorporating additional categories. All 59 Nationwide Permits expire on March 15, 2026. 

Typically, expedited 401 WQC projects are reviewed at the Tier 1 Review Fee level of $985.

Review process

All applicants should submit application materials directly to the 401 Program through Your DEQ Online. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will assess what nationwide category is appropriate for each project, and notify DEQ of its determination. Once DEQ receives this determination, DEQ will invoice the applicant and begin review. DEQ will contact the applicant if additional information is needed. DEQ intends to issue a Nationwide 401 water quality certification (WQC) decision to each applicant within 90 days of the USACE determination, pending receipt of review fee, and sufficient documentation to ensure compliance with Oregon's water quality rules and laws, including a signed Land Use Compatibility Statement (found in Section 11 of the Joint Permit Application, or the DEQ version found here and, if required, a completed post-construction stormwater plan (please see the 2021 Post-Construction Stormwater Management Guidelines).   

For more information about DEQ's Land Use Compatibility Statement visit the LUCS page.

Program contacts

Jeff Brittain 
Program Coordinator
503-229-5395  

Haley Teach
Individual Certifications: Northwest Region
503-702-9753

Chance Plunk 

Individual Certifications: Western Region
541-972-5463

Ari Sindel
Nationwide Certifications - Statewide 
503-367-7584