Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899

Section 9 of this Act, Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403; Chapter 425, March 3, 1899; 30 Stat. 1151), commonly known as the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, prohibits the construction of any bridge, dam, dike or causeway over or in navigable waterways of the U.S. without Congressional approval. Administration of section 9 has been delegated to the Coast Guard. Structures authorized by State legislatures may be built if the affected navigable waters are totally within one State, provided that the plan is approved by the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of Army (33 U.S.C. 401).

Under section 10 of the Act, the building of any wharfs, piers, jetties, and other structures is prohibited without Congressional approval, and excavation or fill within navigable waters requires the approval of the Chief of Engineers. Service concerns include contaminated sediments associated with dredge or fill projects in navigable waters.

Authority of the Corps of Engineers to issue permits for the discharge of refuse matter into or affecting navigable waters under section 13 of the 1899 Act (33 U.S.C. 407; 30 Stat. 1152) was modified by title IV of P.L. 92-500, October 18, 1972, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1341-1345; 86 Stat. 877), as amended, which established the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits.

The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661-667e; 48 Stat. 401), as amended, provides authority for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review and comment on the effects on fish and wildlife of activities proposed to be undertaken or permitted by the Corps of Engineers.

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