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
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-rule. View more information on jurisdictional determinations (click to view).