New, Revised Permits Target Wetlands Development
November 1, 1998
For additional information on wetlands permits, see "More Wetlands Permits Loom in Developers' Future" in your November 1998 print magazine.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses several nationwide permit processes for granting permits for development in wetlands areas. These streamlined processes enable developers whose projects meet certain general conditions to avoid having to apply under the sometimes lengthy and expensive individual permit process.
Under proposed changes, the corps would replace its most commonly used nationwide permit—known as nationwide permit 26 (NWP 26)—with six new permits. Some of the other existing nationwide permits would also be modified to help ensure that projects posing a risk to sensitive wetlands areas are adequately regulated.
The six new permits are for
- Residential, commercial, and institutional developments
- Master planned developments
- Storm water management facilities
- Passive recreational projects
- Mining projects
- Drainage ditch modification projects
The existing nationwide permits that the corps proposes to modify could impose additional restrictions on projects, based on the nature or the impact of the project:
Water quality. Waives requirement for water quality management plan if aquatic impact is to be minimal.
Notification. Requires notification to different entities, based on the amount of wetlands to be lost.
Subdivisions. Prevents developers from dividing property into smaller projects to avoid acreage limits.
Suitable material. Aims to ensure that developers working in navigable waters use only suitable materials.
Mitigation. Stiffens mitigation requirement by deleting a provision that allows district corps engineers to approve off-site compensation plans.
Spawning areas. Prohibits activity that would impact important spawning areas.
Management of water flow. Requires developers to design projects that maintain downstream water flows.
Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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Updated: September 17, 2020