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Preliminary Jurisdictional Determinations

Preliminary JDs are non-binding ''written indications that there may be waters of the United States, including wetlands, on a parcel or indications of the approximate location(s) of waters of the United States or wetlands on a parcel. Preliminary JDs are advisory in nature and may not be appealed." (See 33 CFR 331.2)

A landowner, permit applicant, or other "affected party" may elect to use a preliminary JD to voluntarily waive or set aside questions regarding Clean Water Act (CWA) and/or Rivers and Harbor Act (RHA) jurisdiction over a particular site. Parties interested in obtaining a preliminary JD would need to complete the preliminary JD form provided below. For purposes of computation of impacts, compensatory mitigation requirements, and other resource protection measures, a permit decision made on the basis of a preliminary JD will treat all waters and wetlands that would be affected in any way by the permitted activity on the site as if they are jurisdictional waters of the US pursuant to Section 404 of the CWA. When the Savannah District provides a preliminary JD, or authorizes an activity based on a preliminary JD, the Savannah District is making no legally binding determination of any type regarding whether CWA/RHA jurisdiction exists over the particular water body or wetland in question.

Appropriate uses of a preliminary JD would include: efforts that require initial real estate planning; projects with temporary impacts; projects with minor placement of dredged or fill material in waters of the US; docks; marinas; and/or other work subject to only RHA jurisdiction. With respect to permitting, interested parties can submit a request for a preliminary JD, a Pre-construction Notification, and engineering drawings that illustrate the magnitude of impacts to waters of the US at the project site or within the review area. A preliminary JD is "preliminary" in the sense that a recipient of a preliminary JD can later request and obtain an approved JD if that later becomes necessary or appropriate during the permit process or during the administrative appeal process.

Savannah District will not accept a request for a preliminary JD for actions which are regulated pursuant to sections of the CWA program which are administered by other Federal or state agencies (e.g., Section 402, 303, or 311). In such circumstances, the Savannah District will decline to perform the JD and instead refer the person who requested it to the Federal or state agency responsible for administering the program.

Contact Information

Phone: 912-652-5050