January 13, 2021 - Reissuance of 12 Nationwide Permits
On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a final rule in the Federal Register (86 FR 2744) announcing the reissuance of 12 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and four new NWPs, as well as the reissuance of NWP general conditions and definitions with some modifications. These 16 NWPs will go into effect on March 15, 2021, and will expire on March 14, 2026. View the Public Notice of the reissuance announcement, including the full list of new and reissued Nationwide Permits.
November 23, 2020 - Maryland State Programmatic General Permit - 6 Public Notice Released for Public Comment
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, released for public comment their proposal to issue Maryland State Programmatic General Permit – 6 (MDSPGP-6) on November 23, 2020. This permit would serve to replace the MDSPGP-5 after it expires September 30, 2021, would 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. The public comment period ends on December 23, 2020. View the proposed MDSPGP-6, including the proposed modifications, the issued Public Notice, and information on how to comment.
September 30, 2020 - Proposed Regional Conditions and Suspensions for the proposal to reissue the Nationwide Permits (NWPs) applicable to the Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, and Fort Belvoir, Fort Myer and the Pentagon in Virginia.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh Districts jointly issued the draft regional conditions and proposed suspensions for the proposal to reissue the Nationwide Permits (NWPs) applicable to Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, and Fort Belvoir, Fort Myer and the Pentagon in Virginia. The public comment period ends on November 16, 2020. The districts' public notice is available at https://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices/.
September 15, 2020-Renew and Revision of 52 Nationwide Permits
On September 15, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it has prepared its proposal to renew and revise 52 nationwide permits for work in wetlands and other waters that are regulated by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The proposal was published in the Federal Register. The public comment period ends on November 16, 2020. The proposed rule is available through the Federal Register web site.
September 14, 2020 - Effective date of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) rule to update the regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA
On July 16, 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued a final rule to update its regulations for Federal agencies to implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The final rule became effective on September 14, 2020. Additional information about the final rule and its development is available on the NEPA website at https://ceq.doe.gov/laws-regulations/regulations.html. The Corps of Engineers is in the process of updating its NEPA implementing regulations for the Regulatory Program (33 CFR Part 325, Appendix B) to comport with CEQ’s updated rule. The Corps’ proposed rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register for comments during the first quarter of CY2021.
September 11, 2020 - EPA finalized the “Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule”
On June 1, 2020, EPA finalized the "Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule" to implement the water quality certification process consistent with the text and structure of the CWA. The final rule became effective on September 11, 2020. See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2019-0405 for additional information.
The final rule is available through the Federal Register website at: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-07/documents/clean_water_act_section_401_certification_rule.pdf
Additional information is available on the EPA’s website at: https://www.epa.gov/cwa-401/statutory-and-regulatory-requirements-cwa-section-401-certification
September 4, 2020-Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit - 6 Public Notice Released for Public Comment
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh districts, jointly released for public comment their proposal to issue Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit – 6 (PASPGP-6) September 4, 2020. This permit would serve to replace the PASPGP-5 after it expires
June 30, 2021, would be valid for 5 years, and applies to activities proposed in waters of the United States, including jurisdictional navigable waters, streams, rivers, other open waters and wetlands within Pennsylvania. View the proposed PASPGP-6, including the proposed modifications, the issued Public Notice, and information on how to comment.
September 1, 2020-Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load Regional General Permit Re-issued
The Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was re-issued the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load Regional General Permit (TMDL RGP) with revisions authorizing activities in waters of the U.S., including jurisdictional wetlands that are part of an acceptable watershed strategy, such as a Chesapeake Bay TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). More information can be found here.
May 18, 2020 - 2018 National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) Final Update
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), as part of an interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is announcing the availability of the final 2018 National Wetland Plant List (NWPL). The Federal Register Notice for the 2018 NWPL update was posted on 18 May 2020 and can be found here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-05-18/pdf/2020-10630.pdf.
The NWPL provides plant species indicator status ratings, which are used in determining whether the hydrophytic vegetation factor is met when conducting wetland delineations under the Clean Water Act. The list is effective as of May 18, 2020 and will be used in any wetland delineations performed after this date. Delineations completed prior to this date may still use the 2016 NWPL. The final NWPL is available at http://wetland-plants.usace.army.mil/. State, regional, and national lists can also be downloaded from this site.
April 27, 2020 - Army Corps continues processing permit applications, modifies Regulatory operations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, DC The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, has incorporated preventative measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic at its Regulatory Program offices to minimize potential exposure of Corps personnel, permit applicants and the general public, including limiting some day-to-day operations and postponing Corps-hosted events, office meetings and public engagements. View associated news release for more information.
April 21, 2020 - EPA's and Army’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States On April 21, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” was published in the Federal Register. This final rule establishes the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters and provides specific exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated. The final rule will become effective on June 22, 2020. The published version is 93 pages, and the citation is: 85 FR 22250. Additional information about the rule can be found on EPA’s website. Army Corps Headquarters posted an announcement for the publication of the rule on their Regulatory webpage.
January 28, 2020 - NRCS and Army rescind 2005 Joint Memorandum
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army have provided written notice to rescind the 2005 joint memorandum titled "Guidance on Conduction Wetland Determinations for the Food Security Act of 1985 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act". This rescission is effective immediately. This rescission does not alter the roles or responsibilities of the Agencies under their respective statutory and regulatory authorities. The Agencies will continue their practice of informing landowners that wetland delineations (performed by the Corps) and determinations (performed by NRCS) may not be valid for FSA or CWA requirements, respectively. The Agencies intend to issue new guidance on this topic in the near future.
January 23, 2020 - EPA and Army announce new rule defining "Waters of the U.S." (WOTUS)
The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Army finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule that defines “Waters of the United States” and clarifies the limits of federal control under the Clean Water Act. This rule and existing state, local, and tribal regulations and programs will provide a network of coverage for the nation’s water resources in accordance with the objective and policies of the Clean Water Act. The rule is anticipated to be published in the Federal Register in late February 2020 and will become effective 60 days following publication. The mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program is to protect the nation’s aquatic resources and navigable capacity while allowing economic development through fair and balanced decisions. The Army Corps will work closely with our EPA counterparts, states, local governments, industry partners and organizations, tribes, and the general public to educate on the implementation of this new rule. More information on the Navigable Waters Protection Rule is available on EPA's web site.