The procedure for identifying and locating jurisdictional waters that are regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers & Harbors Act of 1899 is commonly referred to as a “jurisdictional determination". Regulated areas include wetlands, stream channels, rivers, lakes, ponds and coastal and offshore waters.
Jurisdictional determinations involve a two-step process of identifying and locating aquatic resources (including wetlands and streams) on a property; and determining whether those areas are subject to regulation by the Corps of Engineers. Determining jurisdiction is essential when investigating whether work will require a permit from the Corps of Engineers.
Once it has been determined that a wetland is a jurisdictional water of the United States and therefore regulated by the Corps of Engineers, the limits of the wetlands are determined using a wetland delineation or survey. This process typically involves using soils, hydrology, and vegetation parameters, to differentiate the upland and wetland boundary line that separates Corps of Engineers regulated wetlands from non-regulated uplands.