Section 401/404 Wetlands

Section 401 of the Clean Water Act of 1972 (CWA) provides States and authorized tribes with regulatory oversight to manage their wetland/stream permitting program. Section 404 of the CWA establishes a program to regulate the placement of dredged or fill material into Water's of the U.S., including wetlands. Wetlands that are hydrologically connected to navigable waters are referred to as "404 Wetlands". Generally, isolated wetlands that are not hydrologically connected to navigable waters are referred to as "isolated" or "401 Wetlands". What kind of wetlands are on your property? Contact Headwater for an answer.

Coastal Wetlands

Coastland wetlands are those wetlands that are regularly inundated by the tide. Coastal wetlands are the most recognizable type of wetland. They are often referred to as tidal marshlands, estuaries, coastal wetlands, or coastal marshlands. Coastal wetlands provide the outdoor enthusiast with recreational opportunities; safe harbor, spawning and feeding grounds for aquatic wildlife, and breathtaking views. More stringent regulatory requirements are often implemented in these wetlands. 

The most valuable properties in the country are located adjacent to coastal wetlands. Your investment in coastal property is extremely important. Contact Headwater with any questions.


In general, there are three types of streams. Ephemeral streams carry water only during a rain event. Intermittent streams flow during certain times of the year, and can even flow above and below ground, resulting in non-contiguous riffles and pools. Perennial streams flow year round. Certain rivers and streams have vegetated buffer requirements.  These buffer requirements vary by drainage basin, State, and municipality. Maintained and dredged streams can have the appearance of a ditch or canal. But........not all ditches and canals are streams. Each type of drainage feature can affect a project differently. Confused?  Contact Headwater and we will help guide you through the process.

Cypress Swamp (Taxiodium distichum), Brunswick County, North Carolina

Coastal wetlands, Pender County, North Carolina

Perennial stream, Hamilton County, Ohio

Wetland Permitting

The regulatory program for wetlands varies by State. Delineating wetlands is often the easy part. Guiding the project through the permitting process takes experience and more importantly; an attention to detail and strong communication skills. A healthy relationship with regulatory agencies is the backbone of any permit application. We have developed lasting relationships with regulatory representatives in numerous jursidictions. Allow Headwater to assist with your permitting needs.  A list of regulatory agencies is listed below for additional information:



Culverted road crossing over a perennial stream, Virginia Beach, Virginia.  YES, this requires a permit.