US Army Corps of Engineers
Baltimore District

Regulatory Overview

The mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program is to protect the Nation's aquatic resources while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions.  The Corps has been regulating activities in the nation's waters since 1890. The program was initially created solely to prevent obstructions to navigation, although an early 20th century law gave the Corps regulatory authority over the dumping of trash and sewage. The passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 greatly broadened this role by giving the Corps authority over dredging and filling in the "waters of the United States," including many wetlands.

 
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Regulatory Correspondence

Please submit any correspondence, including compliance certification forms, via email at NAB-Regulatory@usace.army.mil or via mail:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Regulatory Branch (CENAB-OPR)
2 Hopkins Plaza
Baltimore, MD 21201

Regulatory Latest News

12 September 2019 - EPA and Army sign new rule to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule
Today the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Army signed a new rule to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule and restore the regulatory regime that existed prior to the 2015 Clean Water Rule.  Today's new rule is in keeping with President Trump’s Executive Order 13778, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.”  Prior to today's rule, a patchwork of regulations existed across the country as a result of various judicial decisions enjoining the 2015 Clean Water Rule.  Today's new rule reestablishes national consistency across the country by returning all jurisdictions to the longstanding regulatory framework that existed prior to the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which many regulatory agencies, States, Tribes, local governments, regulated entities, and the public are familiar with.  This new rule also provides regulatory certainty, while the agencies engage in the second step of rulemaking (Step 2 Proposed Rule) to revise the definition of "waters of the U.S."  The Step 2 Proposed Rule was published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2019, and public comments were received through April 15, 2019.  EPA and Army are currently reviewing more than 600,000 comments received before taking final action.  For more information on the "Waters of the U.S" rulemaking, please visit http://www.epa.gov/wotus-ruleTo view the Special Public notice 19-64 Clean Water Act Final Rule Repealing the 2015 Clean Water Rule, click here. For questions about a pending jurisdictional determination or permit within the Baltimore District's regulatory boundaries, we ask that you contact 410-962-3670 or email us at NAB-Regulatory@usace.army.mil.

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.

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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

March 21, 2019 - Aquaculture Workshop
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Regulatory Branch, in coordination with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Aquaculture and Industry Enhancement Division, is hosting a virtual workshop March 21, 2019, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. In close partnership with Maryland DNR, our Regulatory Program authorizes shellfish aquaculture projects in the Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Bays and their tidal tributaries in Maryland.

This workshop is aligned with ongoing efforts to provide the regulated public with information regarding the permit application/leasing process, key considerations when developing a shellfish aquaculture project, pre-construction notification requirements, siting and navigation considerations, compliance with permit conditions, and coordination with adjacent property owners. The workshop will also provide a venue for comments and feedback for consideration by the Corps and DNR about the shellfish aquaculture/leasing process.

While the workshop will be virtual, information presented will be streamed at two physical locations: the Maryland DNR Tawes State Office Building (conference room #1, main floor in lobby) in Annapolis, and at the Corps Easton Field Office in the Talbot Town Shopping Center. 

Feb. 14, 2019 - EPA and Army publish proposed revised "Waters of the United States"
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army announced the publishing in the Federal Register of the proposed new definition of "waters of the United States" that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act (click to view). The agencies' proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of "waters of the United States" consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled "Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the 'Waters of the United States' Rule." The publishing of the proposal and outreach efforts were delayed due to the lapse in appropriations for EPA. This notice marks the start of a 60-day public comment period that will close April 15, 2019. EPA and the Army will hold an informational webcast Feb. 14, 2019, and will host a listening session on the proposed rule in Kansas City, Kansas, Feb. 27-28, 2019. View further information on supporting analyses and fact sheets (click to view). 

Dec. 11, 2018 - EPA and Army Propose New "Waters of the United States" Definition 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army have proposed a new definition of "Waters of the United States" that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act. The agencies' proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of "Waters of the United States" consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled "Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the 'Waters of the United States' Rule." The agencies will take comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA and the Army will also hold an informational webcast Jan. 10, 2019, and will host a listening session on the proposed rule in Kansas City, Kansas, Jan. 23, 2019. More information including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice, the supporting analyses and fact sheets are available at: https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/step-two-revise and https://www.epa.gov/wotus-ruleView more information on jurisdictional determinations (click to view).

Customer Service Survey

We at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Branch are committed to improving service to our customers and would like to know how well we have been doing. 

To access the survey, click here.