Nationwide Permits (NWP) authorize a category of activities throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and are valid for an individual project only if the conditions of the appropriate permit type are met. After a review of the project, the Army Corps of Engineers issues a verification letter pursuant to the applicable NWP.
An integral part of the Corps' regulatory program is the concept of NWPs for minor activities. NWPs are activity-specific, and are designed to relieve some of the administrative burdens associated with permit processing for both the applicant and the federal government. Some activities authorized by NWPs require pre-construction notification to the District Engineer before commencing with the work. This notification requirement to the District Engineer is necessary to ensure that activities authorized by these NWPs have minimal individual and cumulative adverse impacts on the aquatic environment. Anyone not complying with the terms and conditions of a NWP may still receive authorization via a "standard permit," but the application must be individually evaluated and coordinated with third parties, including the federal and state resource agencies. Review of an application for a "standard permit" takes additional time to complete, as conflict resolution may be required.
In addition to the NWP general conditions, Division Engineers are authorized to add regional conditions specific to the needs and/or requirements of a particular region or state. Regional conditions are an important mechanism to ensure that impacts to the aquatic environment authorized by the NWPs are minimal, both individually and cumulatively.
NWPs can only be authorized for a five-year period, at which time they must be re-evaluated for their impacts on the aquatic environment. The current NWPs became effective on March 19, 2017.