401 & Buffer Transportation Permitting

Wetlands rules changes

Read a recent memo on wetland and 401 certification updates here.

The Transportation Permitting Branch works with the general public, towns, cities, and the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to assist with the planning, permitting and design of transportation projects. Their goal is to provide needed infrastructure for citizens while ensuring the continued protection of North Carolina's water quality.

The Branch's responsibilities include the review of 401 certification applications for transportation projects and wetland and stream mitigation plans, as well as conducting relevant site visits. Branch staff represent the Division of Water Resources on the 404/NEPA Merger Team. The Branch also includes staff that are associated with the Headwater Stream Spatial Dataset project.

DWR's Document Management System Laserfiche Weblink (link is external) lets you view and print files for transportation projects which include buffer impacts, stream determinations, mitigation and 401 certifications and 401 stormwater management plans. To search documents, click on the icon above

If you need assistance, please contact Kristi Lynn Carpenter.

Additional Documents

NCDWQ Aluminum Box Culvert Guidance Report (2012)


Federal 401 Certification Rule:

On Nov. 27, 2023, a revised federal rule on 401 Certifications became effective. In response to the revised rule, effective immediately, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources is no longer requiring pre-filing meetings prior to submittal of every 401 Certification application.

However, for projects associated with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Standard Permit (individual permit) that will require a 401 certification, DWR strongly recommends that applicants continue to conduct pre-application meetings with DWR staff.  For these projects, pre-application meetings provide a valuable opportunity for DWR to provide essential information that will improve application review and final agency decisions.  

Please refer to the Federal Rule for more information. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On Thursday April 7, 2022 the Environmental Protection Agency's "Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule" ("Federal Rule") was reinstated to its previous version which originally became effective on September 11, 2020. In accordance with 40 C.F.R. Section 121.4(a) "At least 30 days prior to submitting a certification request, the project proponent shall request a pre-filing meeting with the certifying agency". In accordance with 40 C.F.R Section 121.5(b)(7), and (c)(5) all certification requests shall include documentation that a prefiling meeting request was submitted to the certifying authority at least 30 days prior to submitting the certification request. Please refer to the Federal Rule for more information. To send a pre-filing request please submit an email request by clicking 401PreFile