Water Quality Certifications

Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires that any applicant for a Federal permit or license to conduct an activity, including, but not limited to, the construction or operation of facilities, which may result in a discharge to a navigable water shall provide certification from the State that the proposed discharge complies with the State’s water quality standards and requirements. Some common examples of federal actions which trigger a Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) include: (1) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (ACOE) Section 404 permits; (2) ACOE Section 10 Rivers and Harbors Act; (3) Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses for hydroelectric projects; and (4) U.S. Coast Guard bridge permits.​​

On April 6, 2022 the Supreme Court reinstated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2020 Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 rule (Certification Rule). The Court stayed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which had vacated and remanded the Certification Rule back to EPA without first addressing the merits of the rule. The Supreme Court’s stay of the 2020 Certification Rule will remain in effect pending final disposition of the case.

EPA has already begun working on a regulatory effort to address those concerns. Further details about EPA’s plans, including information regarding the current rulemaking process, can be found here.

In accordance with the above noted Supreme Court decision, MDE is updating its Water Quality Certification procedures and requirements for compliance with EPA’s 2020 regulations for Section 401 (40 C.F.R. §121) found here.

The Section 401 Certification Rule ​​requires​​​​ that a WQC Pre-Filing Meeting be requested at least 30 days prior to submitting a WQC request. A formal WQC request cannot be filed until 30 days have passed since the submission of the Pre-Filing Meeting request. Although you may elect to waive a formal meeting once requested, a Pre-Filing meeting can be a valuable step in ensuring a complete WQC request is submitted to Maryland for your project and to answer any questions you may have about the process.

To request a Pre-Filing Meeting, please complete a Pre-Filing meeting request form available from MDE’s website:

In addition to the requirements of 40 C.F.R. § 121, Maryland has regulations governing the processing and issuance of WQCs (COMAR Key elements of the Maryland WQC process addressed in the regulations include: the required contents of an application; discharges to outstanding natural resource waters; and public notice and public hearing requirements. In addition, it is important to note that the Department has adopted several General Water Quality Certifications (GWQCs) (COMAR​).

Contact Information

For questions regarding Water Quality Certifications in Maryland, please contact the Regulatory and Customer Service Division Chief at 410-537-4023.


Water Quality Certification (WQC) Request Instructions

    The 401 WQC request to MDE must be mailed to (electronic submissions cannot be accepted):

      BALTIMORE, MD 21230-1708

    Please include your project tracking number and MDE Agency Interest (AI) number, if known, on your request for a WQC.

    It should remain practice that a certification request be submitted to the certifying authority and to the Federal licensing or permitting agency concurrently. When requesting a Section 401 WQC from Maryland, you should concurrently send a copy of the request to the federal licensing or permitting agency. (i.e. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project reviewer)

    Please see the key elements (v. 4/15/2022) required to be submitted to MDE as part of your 401 WQC request.

    A WQC Public Notice Billing Form (PDF) is also required.

    Please be aware that the Joint Federal/State Application for the Alteration of any Floodplain, Waterway, Tidal or Nontidal Wetland in Maryland is not a request for WQC. A separate request for a WQC must be received by MDE per the instructions above.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Authorizations and Maryland Water Quality Certifications

Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), you are required to request a Water Quality Certification (WQC) from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) before the ACOE may issue an individual permit (i.e., Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Sections 9 and 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act) for any activity that may result in a discharge to waters of the United States. If MDE fails to act (certify, waive or deny) on your request for WQC within a reasonable time after the request is received by MDE (i.e., within 60 days of receipt, unless the district engineer determines that a shorter or longer period, not to exceed one year, is reasonable for the State to act), the requirement for obtaining the WQC will be determined to have been waived and the ACOE may continue processing your permit application. The ACOE will notify you when your project qualifies as an individual permit and you need a WQC from Maryland.

ACOE/Maryland State Programmatic General Permit-5 (MDSPGP-5)

The MDSPGP-5 authorizes work in waters of the United States within the state of Maryland for activities that would cause no more than minimal adverse environmental effects, individually and cumulatively, subject to the permit’s specific terms and conditions. This programmatic general permit has been developed in cooperation between the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), which has regulatory authority over waters in the state of Maryland, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. MDSPGP-5 became effective Oct. 1, 2016, and will expire Sept. 30, 2021.

The Maryland State Programmatic General Permit-5 is available from the Army Corps of Engineers website: MDSPGP-5 (PDF, 89 pages)

ACOE MDSPGP-5 Water Quality Certification

Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Water Quality Certification (WQC)/Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) for Maryland State Programmatic General Permit-5 (MDSPGP-5) - MDE's letter to the Army Corps of Engineers dated September 13, 2016, responding to the ACOE's request for federal consistency decisions on MDSPGP-5 in line with the State's Clean Water Act, Section 401 Water Quality Certification; and Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), Section 307.

ACOE/Maryland State Programmatic General Permit-6 (MDSPGP-6)


ACOE Nationwide Permits

Nationwide Permits (NWPs) are general permits issued on a nationwide basis to authorize minor activities with minimal evaluation time. NWPs have been established to reduce the regulatory reporting burden for specific activities that have no more than minimal impacts to the aquatic environment.

Please NOTE, most NWPs have been suspended in Maryland since there are State Programmatic General Permits already in place (MDSPGP-5 and MDSPGP-6). To view the NWPs applicable and suspended in Maryland, please visit one of these links:





2021 Nationwide Permits, Water Quality Certification


NEW AND UPDATE* 2021 Nationwide Permits, Water Quality Certification

On August 19, 2021, the Corps notified Maryland that it was extending the reasonable period of time for Maryland to act on the WQC and extending an opportunity to states for supplemental CZMA coordination for the 41 NWPs not yet reissued by the Corps until October 15, 2021. Specifically, NWPs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 41, 45, 46, 49, 53, 54 and 59 (E).

On October 12, 2021, Maryland issued a conditional Water Quality Certification (PDF) for the 2021 Nationwide Permits and issued a conditional Coastal Zone Consistency Determination (PDF).

On September 15, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published in the Federal Register its proposal to reissue the 52 existing Nationwide General Permits (NWP) with modification and issue five new Nationwide Permits. On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published a final rule in the Federal Register (86 FR 2744) announcing the reissuance of twelve (12) existing Nationwide Permits (NWPs) and the issuance of four (4) new NWPs (2021 NWPs). These 16 NWPs went into effect on March 15, 2021 and will expire on March 14, 2026. The 12 replaced 2017 NWPs expired on March 14, 2021, the day before the reissued NWPs took effect. More information on the 2021 NWPs and the January 13, 2021 Federal Register (86 FR 2744) notice is available on the Corps Headquarters website at: https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Regulatory-Program-andPermits/Nationwide-Permits/

On December 15, 2020, Maryland issued a conditional water quality certification for the 2021 Nationwide Permits (PDF). On March 8, 2021, Maryland was notified that the Corps Baltimore and Philadelphia Districts were declining Maryland’s issued water quality certification. Accordingly, the Corps will instead require individual water quality certifications (or waiver) and individual CZMA consistency concurrence (or presumption of concurrence) for activities authorized by these NWPs to which WQC apply (including NWPs that do not require a Pre-Construction Notification [PCN] to the Corps). In accordance with the Corps’ regulations at 33 CFR 330.4(c), the Corps will not issue authorization under the 2021 NWPs (86 FR 2744) for any activity that results in a discharge until an applicant obtains an individual 401 WQC or waiver thereof.

Corps Baltimore District: The Baltimore District has posted the final regional conditions and suspensions for these 16 final 2021 NWPs (86 FR 2744) on the Regulatory webpage at: https://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Permit-Types-and-Process/

Corps Philadelphia District: The Philadelphia District has posted the final regional conditions and suspensions for these 16 final 2021 NWPs (86 FR 2744) on the Regulatory webpage at: https://www.nap.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Permits/NWP.aspx

2017 Nationwide Permits, Water Quality Certification

Maryland 401 Water Quality Certification and Coastal Zone Management Program Consistency concurrence letter dated 6 March 2017

Issued Water Quality Certifications (WQCs)


Maryland State Programmatic General Permit (MDSPGP-6)
Nationwide Permit Reissuance, SPN-20-62
Certification Number: 20-WQC-0051 (R1)
Effective: October 12, 2021

Maryland State Programmatic General Permit (MDSPGP-6)
Reissuance, NAB-2020-00415, SPN-20-66
Certification Number: 20-WQC-0051
Effective: March 24, 2021
Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load Regional General Permit ("Bay TMDL RGP")
Reissuance, NAB-2019-00527
Reissued: July 10, 2020 with Certification Number: 20-WQC-0029
Effective period: July 2020 - June 2025

WQCs Issued during 2022:

  • 20-WQC-0050(R2) Signed WQC for Nationwide Permit Reissuance, SPN-20-62, Maryland, Effective April 4, 2022, (PDF, 43 pages)

  • 21-WQC-​0323 Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works, Green Haven Wharf, 7720 Outing Ave, Pasadena, Stoney Creek, Anne Arundel County, Effective January 14, 2022 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0330​ City of Havre de Grace, Water Street & Otsego Street, Havre de Grace, Susquehanna River in Harford County, Effective January 21, 2022 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0331​ Maryland Port Administration, Barren Island, off Hoopers Island shoreline, Fishing Creek, Dorchester County, Effective April 13, 2022 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0335 Anne Arundel County Dept of Public Works, Honeysuckle Drive, Mayo Beach Park, Edgewater, South River, Anne Arundel County, Effective March 17, 2022 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0336 Emily Parkhurst and West Shoreham Citizens Association, Honeysuckle Drive, Edgewater, South River, Anne Arundel County, Effective March 21, 2022 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0338 Marley Neck Investments, LLC, Marley Neck Rd and Marley Rd, Glen Burnie, Marley Creek, Anne Arundel County, Effective January 20, 2022 (PDF)

  • 22-WQC-0001 Deale Beach Community Association, Deale, Anne Arundel County, Effective February 2, 2022 (PDF)

  • 22-WQC-0002 M. Shekar, Southbreeze Lane, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Effective April 5, 2022 (PDF)

  • 22-WQC-0006 DRI/TCC Elkton Land, LLC, Pulaski Highway (US Route 40 East), north of Frenchtown Road and west of Maloney Road in Elkton, Perch Creek, Cecil County, Effective May 18, 2022 (PDF)

  • 22-WQC-0013 US Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Navigation Branch, Fishing Creek Federal Navigation Channel, Chesapeake Beach, Calvert County, Effective June 9, 2022​ (PDF)


WQCs Issued during 2021:

  • 20-WQC-0041 County Commissioners of Worcester County Maryland, Terminus of Selsey Road, Ocean City, Isle of Wight Bay in Worcester County, Effective February 4, 2021 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0046 Baltimore Annual Conference United Methodist Church, 5100 Chalk Point Road, West River in Anne Arundel County, Effective February 22, 2021 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0050 (R1) Nationwide Permit Reissuance, SPN-20-62, Maryland, Effective October 12, 2021 (PDF, 103 pages, 1.5MB)

  • 20-WQC-0055 Isabel Baynes, Baltimore County, Effective February 22, 2021 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-1332 Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, Flower Hill I Maintenance Dredging Project located at the Intersection of U.S. Government Drive and Snouffer School Road, Gaithersburg, Montgomery County, Effective January 7, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0003 Delmarva Power and Light Company, electric line project, location from the Cambridge Substation in Cambridge to the East New Market Substation, East New Market, Maryland, and above Indian Creek, Effective February 5, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0005 MDOT Maryland Port Administration, Cox Creek Dredged Material Containment Facility, 1000 Kembo Road, Baltimore MD 21226, Patapsco River (Use I and II), Anne Arundel County, Effective February 25, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0045 Harry and Robyn Proctor, Goose Creek Road, Shady Side, Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County, Effective February 22, 2021

  • 21-WQC-0130 Cambridge Shipyard Facility, Inc. 101 Hayward Street, Cambridge, Cambridge Creek in Dorchester County, Effective October 7, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0305 Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Tidal and Nontidal project on and over the Bush River, located at Perryman (west) and Edgewood (east), parallel to the elevated AMTRAK Northeast Corridor Railroad, Harford County, Effective July 5, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0314 Anne Arundel County Dept of Public Works, Franklin Manor Channel, Chesapeake Bay entrance channel to Deep Creek, Churchton, Anne Arundel County, Effective April 27, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0318 Maryland Port Administration, Masonville DMCF, Patapsco River, Baltimore City, Effective May 24, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0319 Baltimore County Department of Public Works, South of Northwind Road, Parkville, Baltimore County, Effective December 29, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0320 Airedele Road LLC, Living Shoreline, St. Jerome Creek in St. Mary's County, Effective July 27, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0321 Rob Merritt, Ginn Lane, Pasadena, Anne Arundel County, September 7, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0324 John and Kristy Kaptur, White Marsh, Bird River in Baltimore County, Effective October 6, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0325 Jason Kispert, White Marsh, Bird River in Baltimore County, Effective October 5, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0328 WBLH, LLC, of Columbia, Maryland; project to develop infrastructure for the future Locust Hill subdivision (Phase I) including installation of underground utilities, stormwater management, and internal subdivision road construction, and to improve Leeland Road to Prince George’s County standards (Phase II). The site is located on both sides of Leeland Road and Oak Grove Road, adjacent to the Collington Branch (Use I) of the Patuxent River in Upper Marlboro, Prince George’s County, Maryland, Effective December 10, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0329 Microsoft Corporation, Dorsey Run Road, Annapolis Junction, Dorsey Run, Anne Arundel County, Effective October 8, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0333 Roger Singly and Robin Tacelowsky, South Shore Rd, Elkton, C & D Canal, Cecil County, Effective December 6, 2021 (PDF)

  • 21-WQC-0334 Jennifer and James Boyd, aquaculture project including shell and oyster spat on bottom in the Wicomico River, encompassing approximately 12.5 acres southeast of Bushwood Wharf and northeast of Bluff Point, Bushwood, Maryland, Effective November 19, 2021 (PDF)

WQCs Issued for 2020:

  • 19-WQC-0026 Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) Key Bridge between Hawkins Point and Sollers Point, Patapsco River Area - 02130900 in Baltimore, Effective April 1, 2020 (PDF)

  • 19-WQC-0027 A&S Smith Development, Inc., Breezy Point Road, Chesapeake Beach, Plum Point Creek in Calvert, Effective April 24, 2020

  • 19-WQC-0028 Baltimore City Department of Transportation, Inner Harbor roughly Pier 5 to the West and S Bond St to the East, Baltimore City, Effective April 22, 2020

  • 19-WQC-0029 Tradepoint Atlantic (TPA), 1600 Sparrows Point Blvd, Sparrows Point, MD 21219, Patapsco River Area - 02130900 in Baltimore, Effective May 11, 2020

  • 20-WQC-0003 Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works, Lake Ogleton Entrance Channel, Annapolis, Lake Ogleton, Anne Arundel County (PDF, 22 pages)

  • 20-WQC-0004 Bay Ridge Civic Association, Herndon Avenue NE to Upshur Avenue, Annapolis, Lake Ogleton, Anne Arundel County (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0006 Fishing Creek Farm Homeowners Association, Annapolis, South River, Anne Arundel County (PDF, 31 pages)

  • 20-WQC-0007 Cecil County Department of Parks and Recreation, River Bend Parkway, Elkton, Elk River Area, Cecil County (PDF, 34 pages)

  • 20-WQC-0008 Queen Anne’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, 201 Front Street, Centreville, Corsica River, Queen Anne’s County (PDF, 25 pages)

  • 20-WQC-0012 Somerset County Solid Waste and Drainage Department, Champ Road/Oriole Road, Princess Anne, Somerset County (PDF, 14 pages)

  • 20-WQC-0017 Somerset County Solid Waste and Drainage Department, Nevette Muir Road and Landonville Road, Westover, Fairmount, Teague Creek, Somerset County (PDF, 15 pages)

  • 20-WQC-0019 Somerset County Solid Waste and Drainage Department, Wedda Scott Road and Crisfield Highway, Westover, Somerset County (PDF, 8 pages)

  • 20-WQC-0021 Longview Civic Association Inc., Arnold, Magothy River, Anne Arundel County (PDF, 17 pages)

  • 20-WQC-0023 Frederick County Division of Public Works, Coblentz Road, Middletown Park pond, Middletown, Frederick County (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0025 Allegany County Department of Public Works, Oldtown Road, North Branch Potomac River, Oldtown, Allegany County (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0028, McHugh (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0029 Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load Regional General Permit ("Bay TMDL RGP") Reissuance, NAB-2019-00527 - July 10, 2020 (Effective period: July 2020 - June 2025)

  • 20-WQC-0030 Prince George's County Department of the Environment, Hyattsville, Prince George's County, unnamed tributary to Wells Run and a tributary to Northeast Branch Anacostia River (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0031, Shipwright (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0032, Franklin Manor (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0033 Howard County Department of Public Works Division of Stormwater Management, Ellicott City Flood Mitigation for several project sites along Frederick Road/Main Street (MD144), with the westernmost site located at approximately 8777 Frederick Road and the easternmost site located along the Patapsco River from US 29 east to the Patapsco River, Ellicott City, Howard County. Effective March 26, 2021 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0034 Herrington Partnership LLP, Deale Rd (RTE 256) Deale, Tracys Creek in Anne Arundel County, Effective January 29, 2020 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0038, Zdravkovich (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0040 Cape St. Claire Improvement Association, River Bay Road, Annapolis, Magothy River, Anne Arundel County, Effective July 10, 2020 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0042 Somerset County Solid Waste and Drainage Department, Tuff Street, Tyler Creek and Merlin Gut, Tylerton, Somerset County, Effective August 20, 2020 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0043 Town of Queenstown, 1st and 2nd Ave, Queenstown, Queenstown Creek in Queen Anne’s County, Effective December 3, 2020 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0044 U.S. Dept. of the Navy - Naval Support Activity Annapolis - Environmental Division, Naval Academy, Annapolis, Greenbury Point, Severn River, Anne Arundel County (PDF, 23 pages)

  • 20-WQC-0045 Anne Arundel County Dept of Public Works, Triton Beach Road, Edgewater, Anne Arundel County, Effective August 12, 2020 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0048, Franklin Point Park (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0049, Breezy Point Park (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0050 Conditional signed WQC for Nationwide Permits (NWPs), Maryland, December 15, 2020 (PDF, 17 pages)

  • 20-WQC-0051 Water Quality Certification document, MDSPGP-6, 20-WQC-0051 - Effective March 24, 2021

  • 20-WQC-0052, CSCIA-site 2 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0053 Somerset County Planning, End of Crowell Rd, Soundside Estates, Deal Island, Tangier Sound, Somerset County, Effective September 29, 2020 (PDF)

  • 20-WQC-0054, CBF (PDF)

WQCs Issued for 2019:

  • 19-WQC-0001 Pearce Creek Dredge Material Containment Facility - Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Dredging (PDF)

  • 19-WQC-0002 James and Janet Clauson and Diane Lawrence, Crownsville, Severn River, Anne Arundel County

  • 19-WQC-0003 Jack Meyerhoff, Easton, Miles River, Talbot County (PDF, 20 pages)

  • 19-WQC-0004 City of Salisbury, Salisbury, Wicomico River, Wicomico County (PDF, 12 pages)

  • 19-WQC-0005 Ralph and Mary Kraft, Princess Anne, Wicomico River, Somerset County - Aquaculture project (PDF)

  • 19-WQC-0006 Christopher and Terrin Mitchell, Hebron, Wicomico River, Somerset County - Aquaculture project (PDF)

  • 19-WQC-0007 Myson's Legacy, Saint Michaels, Miles River, Talbot County (PDF, 30 pages)

  • 19-WQC-0008 John Robertson, Saint Michaels, Broad Creek, Talbot County (PDF, 15 pages)

  • 19-WQC-0011 Loch Haven Civic Association, Inc., Edgewater, South River, Anne Arundel County (PDF, 23 pages)

  • 19-WQC-0013 Randolph Johnston, Chester, Crab Alley Bay, Queen Anne's County (PDF, 18 pages)

  • 19-WQC-0014 Point Pleasant Farm, Inc., Bozman, Broad Creek, Talbot County (PDF, 20 pages)


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