What should I do if my project will impact wetlands or other waters of the United States?

First, any proposed project or other activity should be designed to avoid and minimize any disturbance to the wetland, stream, or other aquatic area, as much as is practicable before applying for a permit from the Corps. Avoidance and minimization of impacts to wetlands or other aquatic areas can include locating any activity away from the wetland area, establishing buffer zones and protecting the quality of the water that may be discharged into wetlands. If impacts to wetlands or any other water of the United States are proposed, apply for a permit.

How the Permit Application is Processed

Applications for proposed projects submitted to the Corps will generally fall under one of 3 types of application processes: 

  1.  Nationwide Permits are a series of general permits issued by the Corps for minor projects in certain areas. All nationwide permits have special conditions which must be met in order for a project to qualify for nationwide permit status. Some nationwide permits also require pre-construction notification to the Corps prior to the initiation of any activities.
  2. Regional Permits are a type of general permit as defined in 33 CFR 322.2(f) and 33 CFR 323.2(n).  They may be issued by a division or district engineer after compliance with the other procedures of this regulation.  After a regional permit has been issued, individual activities falling within those categories that are authorized by such regional permits do not have to be further authorized by the procedures of this regulation.  The issuing authority will determine and add appropriate conditions to protect the public interest. When the issuing authority determines on a case-by-case basis that the concerns for the aquatic environment so indicate, he may exercise discretionary authority to override the regional permit and require an individual application and review.  A regional permit may be revoked by the issuing authority if it is determined that it is contrary to the public interest provided the procedures of § 325.7 of this part are followed.  Following revocation, applications for future activities in areas covered by the regional permit shall be processed as applications for individual permits.  No regional permit shall be issued for a period of more than five years.
  3. Individual Permits are required if your project does not fall under the criteria for a general permit or letter of permission. If your project requires an individual permit, the Corps issues a Public Notice advising all interested parties of the proposed activity. This Public Notice process helps the Corps to evaluate the probable impact of the project as part of the public interest review.