How to Identify Regulated Wetlands

Man-made, moved or maintained jurisdictional waters of the United States and/or waters of the state of California (wetlands) often occur in the most unlikely places.

Unsuspecting property owners may be lulled into a false sense of security with the notion that their improvement project is not subject to federal regulation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and/or state regulation by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For wetlands subject to regulation, the full scope of environmental requirements may be surprising. Important distinctions include:

  • Public rights-of-way do not immunize property owners from environmental regulation; and
  • Funds used to advance projects without consideration of wetlands regulations are ultimately at risk if initial environmental studies are not completed before or concurrent with engineering design and construction drawings.

The permit process may be long, however, required mitigation when impacts are not thoughtfully addressed in the project design can be extensive and costly.

Impacts to waters of the United States and California are often unavoidable; but surprise at environmental regulations is completely avoidable. Don’t be caught unawares!


For more information contact, Tricia Wotipka, environmental analyst, at or 760.479.4295