Wetland and waters

Legal requirements

FHWA Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty 

FDM references

  • FDM 3-20-30 401-404 permits
  • FDM 5-5-15 coordination with Coast Guard
  • FDM 5-5-20 coordination with Army Corp of Engineers
  • FDM 5-10-1 coordination with WDNR
  • FDM 5-10-35 coordination with Coastal Management Program


  • FDM 20-5-10 federal natural resource laws (Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, Federal Aid in Fish Restoration Act, Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act), federal natural resource laws (Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, Clean Water Act, Federal Coastal Zone Management Act)
  • FDM 20-10-10 federal natural resource policies and regulations (Executive Order 11990 Wetland Management Guidelines, Federal Highway Administration wetland policy, mitigation of environmental impacts on privately owned wetlands, regulations for controlling certain activities in waters of the United States)
  • FDM 20-20-10 state natural resource statutes (SS.30.26 Wild Rivers)
  • FDM 20-15-1 federal transportation agreements with other federal agencies (FHWA/ Coast Guard MOU, DOT/Department of Army MOU related to the implementation of section 404 of the Clean Water Act)
  • FDM 20-25-1 state natural resource regulations (NR 117 Wisconsin's city and village shoreland- Wetland Protection Program)


  • FDM 20-30-1 state agency agreements (WisDOT/DNR cooperative agreement)
  • FDM 21-25-20 FHWA wetland reports (requirements, FHWA statewide wetland finding)
  • FDM 21-30-1 federal permits (section 10 and section 404 permits)
  • FDM 21-30-5 state permits


  • FDM 24-1-5 ecological overview of land and water resources (factor sheet reference list
  • FDM 24-5-1 aquatic systems introduction
  • FDM 24-5-5 rivers, lakes, streams (evaluating existing conditions, evaluating impacts on the aquatic system, measures to minimize harm)
  • FDM 24-5-10 wetlands (evaluating existing conditions, evaluating impacts on the wetland, determination of significance, measures to minimize harm)


Refer to the Forms and tools page for factor sheets and guidance

Tips for Completing the Wetland Impact Tracking Form

Wetland Impact Tracking Form


US Army Corp of Engineers St. Paul District

Coast Guard Section 9 permit U.S. Coast Guard bridge permit application process

Wetland mitigation

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is a 404 permit?

A 404 permit is a permit that must be obtained before any dredged or fill material may be discharged into waters of the United States. A 404 permit is issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Dredged or fill material includes all foreign substances such as soils, rocks, coffer dams, sheet pilings, concrete, piers, etc. Waters of the United States include wetlands, streams, intermittent streams, rivers, lakes, mud flats, sloughs, flowages, etc.

The intent of the 404 permit is to minimize the effect of discharging dredged or fill materials into the waters of the United States whenever it has been determined that it is not practicable to avoid the discharge. Contact the regional environmental coordinator and see FDM 21-30-1 procedure 1 for additional guidance.

When is a 404 permit needed?

A 404 permit is required before fill is placed into a wetland, stream, lake or other water of the United States. FDM 21-30-1

What is 401 certification?

The 401 certification is a requirement of the Clean Water Act. Any 401 certification requires DNR to certify that the proposed discharge of dredged or fill materials into waters of the United States will not have a significant effect on the quality of the water FDM 21-30-1

When is a 401 certification obtained?

The 401 certification must be obtained before the application for the 404 permit is transmitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is necessary, however, to get a sense of whether WDNR will grant, waive, or deny 401 certification during the environmental process of the project. WDNR should be consulted on 401 certification throughout the development of a project. Contact the regional environmental coordinator for guidance on WDNR consultations and see FDM 5-10-1.

What are the required ratios for wetland replacement?

Wetland mitigation banking technical guidelines requires that wetlands be replaced at various ratios depending upon the probability of success. The ratios may be adjusted depending on the wetland affected, the location, and the type of replacement. The ratios are in appendix A of the wetland mitigation banking technical guideline; March 2002. The regional environmental coordinator should be contacted before any commitments for replacements are made.

For more information on wetlands and waters, contact:

Robert Pearson, (608) 266-7980 robert.pearson@dot.wi.gov