33 CFR Part 321
Permits for Dams and Dikes in Navigable Waters of the United States

AUTHORITY: 133 U.S.C. 401.


Section 321.1 - General.

This regulation prescribes, in addition to the general policies of 33 CFR Part 320 and procedures of 33 CFR Part 325, those special policies, practices, and procedures to be followed by the Corps of Engineers in connection with the review of applications for Department of the Army (DA) permits to authorize the construction of a dike or dam in a navigable water of the United States pursuant to section 9 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 401). See 33 CFR 320.2(a). Dams and dikes in navigable waters of the United States also require DA permits under section 404 of the Clean Water Act, as amended (33 U.S.C. 1344). Applicants for DA permits under this Part should also refer to 33 CFR Part 323 to satisfy the requirements of section 404.


Section 321.2 - Definitions.

For the purpose of this regulation, the following terms are defined:

  1. The term "navigable waters of the United States" means those waters of the United States that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide shoreward to the mean high water mark and/or are presently used, or have been used in the past, or may be susceptible to use to transport interstate or foreign commerce. See 33 CFR Part 329 for a more complete definition of this term.

  2. The term "dike or dam" means, for the purposes of section 9, any impoundment structure that completely spans a navigable water of the United States and that may obstruct interstate waterborne commerce. The term does not include a weir. Weirs are regulated pursuant to section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. (See 33 CFR Part 322.)

Section 321.3 - Special policies and procedures.

The following additional special policies and procedures shall be applicable to the evaluation of permit applications under this regulation:

  1. The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) will decide whether DA authorization for a dam or dike in an interstate navigable water of the United States will be issued, since this authority has not been delegated to the Chief of Engineers. The conditions to be imposed in any instrument of authorization will be recommended by the district engineer when forwarding the report to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), through the Chief of Engineers.

  2. District engineers are authorized to decide whether DA authorization for a dam or dike in an intrastate navigable water of the United States will be issued (see 33 CFR 325.8).

  3. Processing a DA application under section 9 will not be completed until the approval of the United States Congress has been obtained if the navigable water of the United States is an interstate waterbody, or until the approval of the appropriate state legislature has been obtained if the navigable water of the United States is an intrastate waterbody (i.e., the navigable portion of the navigable water of the United States is solely within the boundaries of one state). The district engineer, upon receipt of such an application, will notify the applicant that the consent of Congress or the state legislature must be obtained before a permit can be issued.

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