Published June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016


On June 1, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published in the Federal Register its proposal to reissue the 50 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and issue two new NWPs. 

Nationwide permits are general permits issued on a nationwide basis to streamline the authorization of activities that result in no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. Many of the proposed NWPs require notification to the district engineer before commencing those activities, to ensure that the activities authorized by those NWPs cause no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects.  

National Issues Concerning the Proposed NWPs: The Federal Register notice is the public’s opportunity to comment on the proposed NWPs, general conditions, and definitions.  Comments on national issues relating to these NWPs should be submitted to docket number COE-2015-0017 at www.regulations.gov , or by email to NWP2017@usace.army.mil or by mail to Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Directorate of Civil Works, ATTN: CECW-CO-R, 441 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.  20314-1000. Instructions for submitting comments are provided in the June 1, 2016 Federal Register notice. Comments on the proposed NWPs are due by August 1, 2016.

Regional Issues Concerning the Proposed NWPs, Including Regional Conditioning: Division engineers are authorized to add regional conditions specific to the needs and/or requirements of a particular region or state. Regional conditions are important mechanisms to ensure that the adverse environmental effects of activities authorized by the NWPs are no more than minimal, both individually and cumulatively. Division engineers may also suspend or revoke specific NWPs in certain geographic areas (e.g., states or watersheds) or high-value aquatic systems where the adverse environmental effects caused by activities authorized by those NWPs may be more than minimal. An enclosure for this public notice (Enclosure 1) lists the proposed regional conditions currently under consideration by the North Atlantic Division for the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the military installations in Northern Virginia within Baltimore District’s Area of Responsibility (AOR). The Norfolk District is seeking comments on the proposed regional conditions and seeking comments on the need for additional regional conditions to help ensure that the adverse environmental effects of activities authorized by the proposed NWPs are no more than minimal, individually and cumulatively. Comments on regional issues relating to the proposed NWPs and proposed regional conditions should be sent to the Norfolk District, Regulatory Branch at 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510; ATTN: Melissa Nash or to melissa.a.nash@usace.army.mil. Comments relating to regional conditions are due by July 28, 2016. Similar public notices proposing regional conditions in other regions or States are being published concurrently by other division or district offices.

After the final NWPs are issued, the final regional conditions will be issued after they are approved by the Division Commander. After the final NWP are issued, States and Tribes will make their Clean Water Act Section 401 (401) water quality certification and States will make their Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency determination decisions. The 401/CZMA decisions must be made within 90 days of the Federal Register notice announcing the issuance of the NWPs. The final NWPs will go into effect on March 19, 2017.

Draft decision documents for each of the proposed NWPs, which include environmental documentation prepared for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act, have been written by Corps Headquarters. The decision documents will address compliance of the NWPs with the requirements for issuance under the Corps general permit authority. These documents, as well as the proposed NWPs, are available for viewing at www.regulations.gov, docket number COE-2015-0017. Final decision documents will be prepared for the NWPs that are issued. In addition, the final national NWP decision documents will be supplemented by division engineers to address their decisions concerning regional conditions for the NWPs.

Enclosed (Enclosure 2) is an index of the proposed NWPs and conditions.  Anyone wishing to provide comments may obtain a full text copy of the NWPs through the Corps Home Page at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/RegulatoryProgramandPermits/NationwidePermits.aspx , at www.regulations.gov in docket number COE-2015-0017, or at the Federal Register at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-06-01/pdf/2016-12083.pdf.

If you have any questions on regional issues relating to the proposed NWPs or the Norfolk District’s Regional Conditions, please contact Melissa Nash at (757) 201-7489 or by email at melissa.a.nash@usace.army.mil or George Janek at (757) 201-7135 or by email at george.a.janek@usace.army.mil or (757) 201-7135.

PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Information that is submitted in connection with this Public Notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.