Army Corps seeks public comment on modified permit process for activities in Maryland

Published Feb. 1, 2016

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, released for public comment its proposal to renew and revise its existing Maryland State Programmatic General Permit (MDSPGP), with the addition of two new authorized activities for culvert pipe grouting and stormwater management facilities, Jan 22, 2016. This permit will be valid for 5 years and applies to activities proposed in waters of the United States, including navigable waters, streams, rivers, other open waters and wetlands within Maryland.

“It is our hope that the reissuance of this modified permit will provide clarity and further streamline the current process to authorize certain activities in Maryland that have minimal adverse environmental effect,” said Beth Bachur, Baltimore District permit process program manager.

A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room of the Severna Park Branch of the Anne Arundel County Public Library at:

35 W McKinsey Road

Severna Park, MD 21146

The official public hearing record will remain open until the close of business March 7, 2016. In addition to the public meeting, written comments will also be accepted.

It is the responsibility of the Corps’ Regulatory Program to evaluate applications for Department of the Army permits for any proposed work in waters of the United States, under authorities in Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

This will be the fifth version of the MDSPGP. The proposed MDSPGP-5 will continue to authorize certain activities formerly covered by the Nationwide Permits program. The current version of the MDSPGP (MDSPGP-4) went into effect Oct. 1, 2011, and will expire Sept. 30, 2016. The Baltimore District proposes to reissue the current MDSPGP with modifications.

The intent of the modified MDSPGP-5 is to provide a streamlined Department of the Army authorization for certain recurring activities that are similar in nature, have minimal individual and cumulative adverse effects on the aquatic environment, and satisfy other public interest review factors.

The MDSPGP-5 aims at protecting aquatic resources within the Baltimore District’s jurisdictional authorities in Maryland, improve permit application response time and add a certain degree of predictability to the permit program.

The substantial proposed modifications within the MDSPGP-5 include:

1.)   The addition of temporary construction impacts into the description and thresholds for several activities, which reduces the need to use multiple MDSPGP-5 activities for a single project;

2.)   An increase to the maximum total (temporary and permanent) acreage impact threshold for general maintenance activity (Category A);

3.)   The addition of two new activities specific to culvert pipe grouting and stormwater management activities;

4.)   The removal of the Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) study area project activity;

5.)   A new condition requiring a remediation plan for the inadvertent release of fluids and lubricants during regulated directional drilling activities authorized by the utility line activity;

6.)   The clarification of general requirements concerning wetland and stream compensatory mitigation. For unavoidable impacts, compensatory mitigation may be required to replace the loss of wetland, stream, and/or other aquatic resource functions and area. The Corps (or approved state authority) is responsible for determining the appropriate form and amount of compensatory mitigation when a proposed project results in more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects.

“Corps regulators strive to protect the nation’s aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair and balanced decisions,” said Bachur. “The goal of the Regulatory Program is to ensure projects do not negatively affect our natural resources or the users of these resources. This modified permit will help us reach many of these decisions more efficiently in Maryland.”

To view all of the proposed modifications and information on how to comment, visit:

Sarah Gross

Release no. 16-004