Army Corps enacts new permit process for activities in Maryland

Published Oct. 3, 2016

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, published its fifth version of the Maryland State Programmatic General Permit, Oct. 1, 2016, which will expire Sept. 30, 2021.

“Through this process, we aim to protect aquatic resources within our jurisdictional authorities in Maryland, improve permit application response times and add a certain degree of predictability to the permit program,” said Col. Ed Chamberlayne, Baltimore District commander.

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

“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,” Beth Bachur, Baltimore District permit process program manager, said when the draft permit modifications were initially released for public comment in January 2016.

The substantial modifications from MDSPGP-4 to 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), which means more projects can be approved by the state without needing to go to the Corps for review;

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

To view the full permit and for more information, visit Baltimore District's Regulatory Branch's Permit Types and Processes web page:


Sarah Gross

Release no. 16-027