Discharge of Dredged and Fill Material - 401 Water Quality Certification and Waste Discharge Requirements

Most projects requiring 401 Water Quality Certification fall into two categories:

  1. Projects involving discharges of dredged or fill material to waters of the United States including wetlands and other water bodies. Such discharges may result from navigational dredging, flood control channelization, levee construction, channel clearing, fill of wetlands for development, or other activities. These projects involve the removal or placement of soil, sediment, and other materials in or near water bodies and require Corps permits under CWA Section 404. This information sheet concerns this category of activities.
  2. Projects involving construction of hydroelectric dams, power plants, and other facilities requiring Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses and projects which must secure a State water rights permit. The State Board reviews these projects for certification.
For more information on certification of projects seeking FERC licenses and water rights permits, contact:

Division of Water Rights
State Water Resources Control Board
P.O. Box 2000
Sacramento, CA 95812-2000
(916) 341-5300 (information)

Applying for a project-specific individual 401 Water Quality Certification:
Under the Final 2023 CWA Section 401 Water Quality Certification Improvement Rule, you will need to submit a "Pre-Filing Meeting Request” a minimum of 30 days prior to submitting your application for a project-specific individual 401 Water Quality Certification. You will submit the application after the 30-day pre-filing time-period concludes.

Please send your Pre-Filing Meeting Request to the following address: rb3-401Application@waterboards.ca.gov. In the subject line of the email, write: “Pre-Filing Meeting Request, 401 Certification, [project name].” In the body of the email, state that you are requesting a Pre-Filing Meeting Request for the: [project name; applicant name; project city and county].

If you have already sent in your Pre-Filing Meeting Request and it's been 30 days since the receipt of your request, you may submit your application.

To fill out an application for a project-specific individual 401 Water Quality Certification, download the application at the following link: 401 Application. You will need to scroll down the webpage to find the Application and Guidance Materials link. You will also find an overview of regulation of discharges of dredged or fill material to waters of the state, fee information, and FAQs.

Submit all applications linked on this webpage to the following email address:

  • rb3-401Application@waterboards.ca.gov (25 MB file size limit. PDF files preferred. Include your contact information (First and Last name, Organization, and phone number) in the body of the email.)

An application fee should accompany all 401 Water Quality Certification applications. The 401 Fee Calculator* describes required application and additional fees and how they are calculated. More information about fees is available at the 401 application link provided above.

*Be aware that this file may take several minutes to download.

Fee payments may be made by check or credit card. 

Payment by Check:

Please write your project name clearly on your check and mail your check to:

Attn: 401 Certification Unit
Central Coast Water Quality Control Board
895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Payment by Credit Card:

IMPORTANT: The online payment system requires you to enter an application number. You do not get this application number for the online payment system from Central Coast Water Board staff. Do not use the project number Central Coast Water Board staff provides you for use in identifying your project. During the online payment process you will be provided with a link titled “Quick Guide to Finding Your Application Number” that provides instructions to help you create and enter an application number for your project into the online payment system. Please capture a screenshot of your payment receipt and submit the screenshot with your application.

Applying for enrollment under a general order 401 Water Quality Certification:
Some projects (such as emergency projects and restoration projects) requiring 401 Water Quality Certification qualify for coverage under general orders. For more information on these general orders click on the following link:

Applying for permitting of emergency projects that are responding to storm or wildfire damage:

Applying for permitting of projects only occurring in waters of the state:
Projects that only discharge dredge or fill material to waters of the state, and not waters of the United States, must apply for Waste Discharge Requirements.

21 Day Public Notices for Pending 401 Certifications

Other Public Notices

Please call the Central Coast Regional Board Control Board at (805) 549-3147 for questions on the 401 Program.

Visit the State Board 401 Water Certification Program for further information.