Sept. 15, 2020-Renew and Revision of 52 Nationwide Permits
On Sept. 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 Nov. 16, 2020. The proposed rule is available through the Federal Register web site.
Sept. 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) Sept. 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.
Sept. 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.
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.
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.
Jan. 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.
Jan. 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.
Aug. 7, 2019 - Regulatory Guidance Letter (Timeframes for Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certifications and Clarification of Waiver Responsibility)
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works has announced the issuance of Regulatory Guidance Letter (RGL) 19-02. This RGL provides guidance to Army Corps district engineers to clarify timeframes and improve efficiency for receiving Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) decisions. The guidance also clarifies the Corps' 401 WQC waiver determination process and responsibilities when the Corps is not the lead federal regulatory agency for a proposed project. Section 401 requires the applicant obtain certification specifying compliance with CWA requirements if proposed project/activity may result in discharge into waters of the U.S.
June 10, 2019 - Draft biennial update to National Wetland Plant List for 2018 in Federal Register
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as part of an interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service, announces the draft biennial update to the National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) for 2018 in the Federal Register. The Corps encourages public input in the form of data, comments, literature references or field experiences to help clarify the status of the species reviewed for this update, as well as public input on the NWPL process. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed update or addition of wetland indicator status ratings for 20 plant species in select Corps wetland regions. These 20 reviewed species and their draft 2018 wetland ratings by region, as well as the FR notice, can be viewed at the NWPL homepage under “2018 NWPL Update Information.” A link to provide general or species-specific comments is also available at this location. Users are encouraged to submit literature citations, herbaria records, experiential references, monitoring data and other relevant information. Specific knowledge of, or studies related to, individual species are particularly helpful. Commenters should use their regional botanical and ecological expertise, field observations, reviews of the most recent indicator status information, appropriate botanical literature, floras, herbarium specimens with notation of habitat and associated species, habit data, relevant studies and historic list information. Guessing ratings is inappropriate. All submitted comments and information will be compiled and sent to the National Panel for their consideration.
The Corps is also seeking comments on the NWPL update process. Detailed information on the update process, protocol and technical issues can be found in the following documents (available on the NWPL Publications web page referenced above):
1) Lichvar, Robert W. and Minkin, Paul. Concepts and Procedures for Updating the National Wetland Plant List. Sept. 2008. ERDC/CRREL TN-08-3
2) Lichvar, Robert W. and Gillrich, Jennifer J. Final Protocol for Assigning Wetland Indicator Status Ratings during National Wetland Plant List Update. Sept. 2011. ERDC/CRREL TN-11-1