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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizes projects in several different ways with several different types of permits. This page is meant to provide you with a brief overview of the three (3) most common types of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits – the Nationwide Permits, the Individual Permit, and the Regional General Permit No. 1.
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Nationwide Permits are meant to authorize activities that are "similar in nature, cause only minimal adverse environmental effects when performed separately, and cause only minimal cumulative adverse effects on the aquatic environment." The Nationwide Permits allow the Corps to focus their limited resources on activities important to them. It is not surprising that, given the Corps' much broader focus both in terms of geography and in terms of public interest review, their focus would differ somewhat from Indiana's focus. Congress must have anticipated this because they created a mechanism for the states to use to ensure that activities permitted by the Corps do not degrade water quality or violate other applicable laws. That mechanism is the State Water Quality Certification (also known as Section 401 Water Quality Certification).
The table below lists all of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permits currently in existence. Each U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District is allowed to tailor the Nationwide Permits to the particular needs of that district. Some districts condition Nationwide Permits, some deny them, etc. In Indiana, the Louisville, Detroit, and Chicago Corps Districts have suspended Nationwide Permits 7, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 25, 29, 36, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44; this is why they do not show up in the table below. In place of these suspended permits, the Corps established the Indiana Regional General Permit No. 1 (Corps RGP).
|1||Aids to Navigation||Approve||General|
|2||Structures in Artificial Channels||Approve||General|
|3||Maintenance||Approve||General & Specific|
|4||Fish and Wildlife Harvesting, Enhancement, and Attraction Devices and Activities||Approve||General|
|5||Scientific Measurement Devices||Approve||General|
|8||Oil and Gas Structures on the Outer Continental Shelf||Deny||N/A|
|9||Structures in Fleeting and Anchorage Areas||Approve||General|
|12||Utility Line Activities||Approve||General & Specific|
|16||Return Water from Upland Contained Disposal Areas||Deny||N/A|
|20||Oil Spill Cleanup||Deny||N/A|
|21||Surface Coal Mining Operations||Approve||General|
|22||Removal of Vessels||Approve||General|
|23||Approved Categorical Exclusions||Deny||N/A|
|24||Indian Tribe or State Administered Section 404 Program||Approve||General|
|27||Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Establishment, and Enhancement Activities||Approve||General & Specific|
|28||Modifications of Existing Marinas||Approve||General|
|30||Moist Soil Management for Wildlife||Approve||General|
|31||Maintenance of Existing Flood Control Facilities||Deny||N/A|
|32||Completed Enforcement Actions||Deny||N/A|
|33||Temporary Construction, Access, and Dewatering||Approve||General|
|34||Cranberry Production Activities||Deny||N/A|
|35||Maintenance Dredging of Existing Basins||Deny||N/A|
|37||Emergency Watershed Protection and Rehabilitation||Approve||General & Specific|
|38||Cleanup of Hazardous and Toxic Waste||Deny||N/A|
|45||Repair of Uplands Damaged by Discrete Events||Approve||General|
|46||Discharges to Ditches||Approve||General & Specific|
|48||Existing Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture Activities||Deny||N/A|
|49||Coal Remining Activities||Approve||General|
|50||Underground Coal Mining Activities||Approve||General|
|51||Land-based Renewable Energy Generation Facilities||Approve||General & Specific|
|52||Water-based Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Projects||Approve||General & Specific|
If IDEM has denied Section 401 Water Quality Certification for a Nationwide Permit, it just means that IDEM wants to take a closer look at that particular activity; IDEM's closer look means that the project will require an individual, site-specific Section 401 Water Quality Certification. Most of the Nationwide Permit activities that IDEM denied certification on, such as shellfish aquaculture activities and cranberry production, are not applicable in Indiana, but some are denied because IDEM must ensure that the activity does not result in degradation of water quality or violation of other applicable state laws.
The Corps' Individual Permit (IP) is used for projects proposing extensive impacts or impacts to rare or special aquatic types. Generally speaking, the Corps' IP is always used for projects that propose impacts equal to or greater than one (1) acre of wetland or stream. The Corps can, at their discretion, elevate any project to be reviewed as an Individual Permit.
Individual Permits require the evaluation of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers applications under a public interest review and the environmental criteria set forth in the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines.
The Louisville, Detroit, and Chicago District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers established the Indiana Regional General Permit No. 1 (Corps RGP) on December 15, 2009, to take the place of several Nationwide Permits which have been suspended in Indiana. If a project is not large enough to require an Individual Permit, and is not small enough to fall under a Nationwide Permit, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will review an application under their RGP No. 1.
The Corps' Regional General Permit No. 1 is NOT the same as IDEM's Regional General Permit Notification Form. The names are just similar.
In general, the Corps' Regional General Permit No. 1 can be used by the Corps to authorize most projects that affect less than one (1) acre of waters of the United States. The following types of activities can be authorized by the Corps' RGP No. 1:
The following Maximum Limitations are placed on the RGP No. 1 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
All proposed projects are subject to the Corps' restrictions and the Corps' RGP No. 1 General Conditions detailed in their Public Notice issued January 15, 2010 [PDF].