Wetlands Protection

Prior to the 1800s - Mississippi had nearly 10 million acres of wetlands.
The destruction of wetlands was not regulated until the 1970s.
Today -Almost 60% of these wetlands have been lost.
Nearly 10,000 acres of coastal marsh have been destroyed.
Causes for wetland loss:
  • Historically, conversion to agriculture.
  • Today, residential and commercial development.
Regulatory and incentive programs have dramatically reduced the rate of loss.
Wetlands provide many benefits including fish and wildlife habitat, erosion control, and water quality improvement.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) are responsible for administering the federal program for development in wetlands.
Check with the appropriate Corps district to see if a 404 permit is required.

The application prepared for the Corps of Engineers also serves as an application for water quality certification.

MDEQ will receive notice from the Corps of Engineers that an application has been made.
MDEQ administers the 401 Water Quality Certification Program, the focus of wetland regulation and protection programs at the state level. MDEQ evaluates proposals for their impact on wetlands. MDEQ may waive, issue with conditions, or deny a 401 certification. The federal 404 permit from the COE is not issued until MDEQ gives a 401 certification. Click here for staff directory to ask for additional information.

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has joint jurisdiction over proposed wetland alteration in the coastal zone.

Click here for information about the Corps of Engineers' Section 404 Permit Program.


Steps to follow to seek a permit to alter a wetland:
  1. Contact the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for your region of the state (see map above) to determine the need for a Section 404 permit.
  2. For projects within the three coastal counties, contact the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
  3. Consult Mississippi's Water Quality Certification regulations
  4. Contact MDEQ wetlands staff.

Helpful Wetlands Links
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Gulf of Mexico Program - Wetlands Education
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers - Regulations
District Offices
Wastewater Regulation