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Section 10 Permit

US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) - Section 10 (Rivers and Harbors Act) Permit


  • Activities subject to this type of permit include any activity that would place any structure below, within, or over navigable waters of the United States, or would involve excavation/dredging or deposition of material or any obstruction or alteration in navigable waters of the United States. To learn more about this permit, click here.

Section 10 Permit General Process and Steps

This process is essentially the same as the process for a Section 404 permit. To apply for a Section 10 Permit, one typically follows the steps below:

  1. Prepare and submit to USACE a jurisdictional delineation of waters of the United States, including wetlands, that is prepared in accordance with the USACE’s minimum standards – The delineation should be conducted to determine the extent of jurisdictional waters of the United States covered under the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. It is recommended that the delineation cover an area slightly larger than the project area (possibly all the way to the edge of the floodplain) to account for potential effects to waters of the United States from access, temporary staging, laydown areas, and storage areas as well as the direct project work area. When submitting the delineation report to USACE, request a verification visit with USACE on the delineation area. It is always recommended that the delineation be verified prior to preparation of the application for permits. A permit, if required, must be acquired before work can begin.
  2. Prepare a project description – Prepare a written description of the project that covers the project features and activities and proposed construction methods in detail. The project description typically contains information about the location of the activities, what the project features and activities will consist of, how the activities will be conducted, what equipment and materials will be needed for the activities, how access to the site will be achieved, and the schedule of activities. For the Section 10 permit, other specific information USACE will require includes information regarding the types of structures to be constructed, the materials the structures will be built from, and the structures’ effects on navigability of the waterway.
  3. Prepare location maps of the project site – prepare maps showing the project site with a clear project boundary relative to a USGS topographic quadrangle or aerial photograph, including landmark information like street names or other features to identify the location. Include the USACE delineation information on the maps if available.
  4. Set up a pre-application meeting with USACE – attending a pre-application meeting with USACE is highly recommended to discuss the specific project with USACE representatives. They can comment and provide feedback on the project to help design the project to minimize adverse effects to waters of the United States and provide guidance on the Section 10 application process. To learn more about requesting a pre-application meeting click here.
  5. Prepare the Section 10 permit application – The Section 10 permit application is the same as the Section 404 Individual Permit application form (ENG Form 4345), which can be found here. NOTE: If there is potential for adverse effects to federally listed species and you need a Section 404 permit, USACE is obligated to conduct Section 7 consultation with USFWS and NMFS, if applicable. Section 7 consultation can be expedited if you prepare a biological assessment for USACE to submit to USFWS and NMFS, if applicable. NOTE: A cultural resources and historic properties record search, surveys, and consultation with appropriate Native American representatives will be required as part of USACE’s requirement to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.


The Section 10 regulations include timelines for USACE staff to issue Section 10 permits. However, there are many factors that can affect the time it takes to receive a Section 10 permit. The timeline below is an estimate based on recent experience.

Applicants can typically expect a Section 10 permit to be issued by USACE within 6 to 8 months after USACE acknowledges receipt of a complete permit application. This timeline depends greatly on whether consultation with other agencies (e.g., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State Historic Preservation Officer) is required for the project.