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The basic form of authorization used by Corps districts is the Individual Permit. Processing such permits involves evaluation of individual, project specific applications in what can be considered three steps: pre-application consultation (for major projects), formal project review and decision making.

You are encouraged to contact the local Corps of Engineers field office in your area prior to making a permit application. Pre-application consultation usually involves one or more meetings between an applicant, Corps district staff, interested resource agencies (federal, state and/or local), and sometimes the interested public. The basic purpose of such meetings is to provide for informal discussions about the pros and cons of a proposal before an applicant makes irreversible commitments of resources (funds, detailed designs, etc.). The process is designed to provide the applicant with an assessment of the viability of some of the more obvious alternatives available to accomplish the project purpose, to discuss measures for reducing the impacts of the project, and to inform him of the factors the Corps must consider in its decision making process.

By discussing the work prior to submitting an application, your application can be processed more efficiently.

Helpful Hints for Submitting a Permit Application:

This information will assist individuals in identifying and acquiring permits for projects affecting waters of the United States under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. Hopefully, this information will minimize not only the time, effort and expense needed to accomplish projects, but will also help to lessen any adverse impact a project may have on the aquatic environment.

If you have questions about the extent of wetlands on your site, please contact your local field office to arrange for a wetland jurisdictional determination or a site review. This will allow you to plan your project to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands where possible. Pre-application meetings or a phone call to your local field office may be necessary or helpful to determine the extent of the project and what measures might need to be taken into consideration during your project design.

Please provide clear drawings. Do not clutter the drawings with extraneous information. A simple drawing which clearly shows the project is easier to copy and will be more readable by the time a permit decision is finally reached. Remember, these drawings must be copied for publication in the Public Notice.

It is very important that you provide complete information and details of the project. The following information is required for review by the Corps:

  • Name, address, and phone number of applicant.
  • Complete description of the proposed project, including the purpose, type and quantity of material to be discharged.
  • All related activities. Is this a multiphase project? Have additional permits been applied for or received?
  • A list of all adjacent property owners and their addresses.
  • The project location. This should be clearly marked on a road map and a description of the directions should be included. In addition to the map and directions, you should submit the section, township and range and the latitude and longitude of the site.
  • Has the application been signed?
  • Be sure to include a full set of drawings on 8.5 inch by 11 inch format. These should include plan view, section view, elevation view, profile and grade drawings. Please use match lines where necessary.

After the application is received by the Corps, it will be assigned an identification number and reviewed for completeness. A request for additional information may be sent to notify you of any additional information which may be necessary for the Corps to review your proposed project. Then within 15 days of receiving all the required information, a public notice will be issued with a 15- to 30-day comment period. The proposal is then reviewed by the Corps, local, state and federal agencies, special interest groups and the general public.

After the comment period, the Corps reviews all of the comments received and consults with other agencies where appropriate. The Corps may ask for additional information at this time, and a public hearing may be conducted if one has been specifically requested and a decision has been made that there is a need.

The project manager evaluates the impacts of the project and all comments received, negotiates necessary modifications of the project if required, and drafts appropriate documentation to support a recommended permit decision. The permit decision document includes a discussion of the environmental impacts of the project, the findings of the public interest review process, and any special evaluation required by the type of activity such as compliance determinations with the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines or the ocean dumping criteria.

When all considerations are satisfied, the District Engineer decides to either issue or deny the permit application. If a denial is warranted, you will receive a written explanation of the reason for denial.

Fees are required for any issued individual permit and consist of $10.00 for individual, non-commercial projects, and $100.00 for commercial projects.

The Corps makes every effort to process Individual Permit applications within 120 days of the date a complete application is submitted. In some cases, such as controversial projects or projects dealing with endangered species concerns, the processing time may be greater than 120 days.

Survey Information that may be required:

If you need additional information concerning the permit process please contact your local Regulatory field office.

The Corps supports a strong partnership with states in regulating water resource developments. This is achieved with joint permit processing procedures (e.g., joint public notices and hearings), programmatic general permits founded on effective state programs, transfer of the Section 404 program in non-navigable waters, joint EISs, special area management planning, and regional conditioning of nationwide permits.