News Stories

Regulatory Division preserving Mobile District’s water resources

USACE, Mobile District
Published June 5, 2024
Woman and Man looking over documents at a desk.

Allison Monroe, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District Team Leader, Mississippi Branch Regulatory Division, explains a permitting document to Trevor Popkin, Regulatory Division Chief, at the Mobile District Headquarters, Mobile, Alabama, June 4, 2024. The Regulatory Division interacts with the public regularly regarding the permitting process, compliance, and non-compliance issues.

Man and woman walking through

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District Regulatory Division Project Managers Joseph French and Paige Harvey conduct a jurisdictional determination in Baldwin County, Alabama, October 10, 2023. The Regulatory Division must often enter the field to determine jurisdictional, permitting, and compliance/non-compliance issues. (Courtesy photo)

By Chuck Walker

MOBILE, Ala. – The Regulatory Division is one of the more public faces of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District.

The Regulatory Division is responsible for protecting the nation’s aquatic resources and maintaining the navigable capacity of its waters while allowing reasonable development through fair, timely, and balanced permit decisions.

Due to these reasons, the division interacts quite a bit with the public, especially regarding permits, compliance, and non-compliance issues concerning wetland delineations and jurisdictional determinations at the regulated public’s request.

“The Regulatory team understands that public service is a public trust,” said Trevor Popkin, Regulatory Division chief. “To serve the public interest and enhance communication, our regulators provide timely and accurate responses to written and verbal inquiries. They continually provide quality permit evaluations by balancing the protection of aquatic resources and allowing for reasonable development.”

The Regulatory Division also evaluates Department of the Army permit applications, investigates and resolves violations, and non-compliance issues.

It is human nature not to like being told that you can’t have the permit to build what you want or that something on your property infringes upon U.S. Government property and will need to be removed.

“Interaction with the public under contentious conditions requires tact, empathy, and sensitivity, whether it’s over the phone, via e-mail, or face-to-face,” Popkin said. “Our Regulators continually work on fostering open and honest communications with the public and do not take negative feedback personally. Our team is focused on active listening and ensuring that the applicant understands not only our process and decisions but what information we utilized in our decision-making process to arrive at our decision.”

Popkin said that we would like the public to know that water is one of our most valuable resources and that it is becoming increasingly critical to protect the nation’s water for current and future generations.

“The regulatory team ensures that environmental impact on our aquatic resources is avoided, minimized, or mitigated. “We are dedicated to protecting the nation’s aquatic resources while allowing for reasonable and necessary economic development.”

In the future, Popkin said he wants the Regulatory Division to continue doing the great things it has been doing and to continue enhancing its relationships with customers both inside and outside the Corps of Engineers.

“We remain focused on enhancing our regulatory program, continuing to improve the efficiency and timeliness of our permit decisions, and ensuring our program is consistent and in compliance with current laws and regulations,” Popkin said. “We continue to build and maintain collaborative, proactive relationships and to promote teamwork and trust with internal and external customers, stakeholders, and the public to improve the overall quality and effectiveness of our program.”