The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 USC 661-666) (FWCA) requires that US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) be consulted whenever the "waters of any stream or other body of water are proposed or authorized, permitted or licensed to be impounded, diverted . . . or otherwise controlled or modified" when a Federal permit or license is involved. Consultation is to be undertaken for the purpose of "preventing loss of and damage to wildlife resources." There are no regulations that implement the FWCA.
When It Is Required
The law applies to any project that receives either federal funding or a federal permit and proposes to alter a perennial waterway or water body.
There is no permit or application process for compliance with the FWCA. If a federally funded project is likely to affect fish and wildlife habitat by modifying a stream or waterbody, the USFWS and the VFWD should be contacted to assess impacts and to discuss mitigation options, if needed. Project proponents should provide plans, location map, description of the proposed activity, and any relevant reports or studies that have been undertaken.
Regulatory programs with overlapping jurisdiction with the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
Section 401 Water Quality Certification: Water Quality Certification is required for projects requiring a Federal permit which involve discharges to water bodies or wetlands. Section 401 is administered by ANR, and for larger projects, requires a separate permit application with plans and details. Certification is usually issued in conjunction with either a State Wetlands Permit or a Stream Alteration Permit (Title 19).
Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act: The Army Corps of Engineers and the US Coast Guard regulate dredging and filling in navigable waters.
Vermont Stream Alteration Program: Any project that proposes to alter or modify a perennial stream must receive a permit from this program.
For More Information
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
New England Field Office
70 Commercial Street
Concord, NH 03301-5087
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05671-0501
Water Resources Development under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act – information and guidance on FWCA.