Washington Report

Advocacy Updates from Washington D.C.

Corps of Engineers to Reauthorize Water Permits

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps") has proposed new and revised Nationwide Permits ("NWPs") for activities that require authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. Nationwide Permits provide streamlined authorization for dredge and fill activities that the Corps has determined will have minimal adverse effects on the aquatic environment, individually and cumulatively. The Corps is soliciting comments until August 1, 2016.

The proposal includes two new permits and 50 reissued permits, many of which contain revisions. The Corps has provided a table summarizing the changes to the existing NWPs. The two new permits authorize impacts related to the removal of low-head dams and construction and maintenance of living shorelines for shore erosion control. The permit revisions affect a variety of activities, including residential, commercial, and industrial development; flood control; storm water management; mining; and agriculture and aquaculture.

The Corps is also seeking comment on:

  • Waivers of requirements that are available under certain NWPs, including making changes to the numeric limits that can be waived;
  • Whether to retain the authority of district engineers to issue activity-specific waivers of certain NWP limits; and
  • Whether to require compensatory mitigation.

The Corps is also asking for comments on what impact changes to the definition of the Waters of the U.S. will have on the NWPs. NAR will be commenting on the proposed revisions to the NWPs.

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