March 24, 2021: Nationwide Permits - Draft Changes to the 2020 NWPL
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), as part of an interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is announcing the availability of the draft changes to the 2020 NWPL and its web address to solicit public comments. The public now has the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to wetland indicator status ratings for five plant species in select regions and the addition of 22 new plant species to the NWPL. The Federal Register Notice (FRN) for the 2020 NWPL update can be found here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-03-24/pdf/2021-05989.pdf . The public comment period ends on 24 May 2021.
The 27 species and their draft 2020 wetland ratings by region, as well as the FRN, can be viewed at the NWPL homepage, http://wetland-plants.usace.army.mil/ , under “2020 NWPL Update Information.” A link to provide general or species-specific comments is also available at this location. Users are encouraged to submit literature citations, herbaria records, experiential references, monitoring data, and other relevant information. Specific knowledge of, or studies related to, individual species are particularly helpful. Commenters should use their regional botanical and ecological expertise, field observations, reviews of the most recent indicator status information, appropriate botanical literature, floras, herbarium specimens with notation of habitat and associated species, habit data, relevant studies, and historic list information. Providing ratings without supporting documentation or information is not recommended. All submitted comments and information will be compiled and sent to the National Panel for their consideration.
USACE is also seeking comments regarding the administrative change to the South Pacific Islands subregion and the NWPL update process. Detailed information on the update process, protocol, and technical issues can be found in the following documents (available on the “NWPL Publications” web page referenced above):
Lichvar, Robert W. and Minkin, Paul. Concepts and Procedures for Updating the National Wetland Plant List. Sept 2008. ERDC/CRREL TN-08-3
Lichvar, Robert W. and Gillrich, Jennifer J. Final Protocol for Assigning Wetland Indicator Status Ratings during National Wetland Plant List Update. Sept 2011. ERDC/CRREL TN-11-1
USACE administers the NWPL for the United States and its territories. The NWPL provides plant species indicator status ratings, which are used in determining whether the hydrophytic vegetation factor is met when conducting wetland delineations under the Clean Water Act and wetland determinations under the Wetland Conservation Provisions of the Food Security Act. Other applications of the NWPL include wetland restoration, establishment, and enhancement projects. Additions or deletions to the NWPL represent new records, range extensions, nomenclatural and taxonomic changes, and newly proposed species. The latest review process began in 2020 and included review by Regional Panels and the National Panel.
March 3 2021: Nationwide Permits - Final Rule
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published a final rule announcing the reissuance of 12 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and four (4) new NWPs, as well as the reissuance of the 2021 NWP general conditions and definitions with some modifications. The January 13, 2021, Federal Register notice is available for viewing at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/13/2021-00102/reissuance-and-modification-of-nationwide-permits .
These 16 NWPs go into effect March 15, 2021 and expire March 14, 2026. Subsequent to the January 13, 2021, Federal Register notice, the Honolulu District finalized four regional conditions for the new and reissued NWPs. The regional conditions will provide additional protection for the aquatic environment and will help ensure that the NWPs authorize only those activities with no more than minimal adverse environmental effects.
The Corps will be hosting a virtual meeting for prospective applicants March 24, 2021, 2–3:30 p.m. Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time to discuss the 2021 NWPs and answer questions in regard to the NWP program.
Please RSVP via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: NWP Meeting RSVP by March 19, 2021 if you wish to attend.
January 14, 2021: Reissuance of Nationwide Permits
Aloha Interested Parties:
On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published a final rule in the Federal Register (86 FR 2744) announcing the reissuance of 12 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and four new NWPs, as well as the reissuance of NWP general conditions and definitions with some modifications.
These 16 NWPs will go into effect on March 15, 2021, and will expire on March 14, 2026. There are 40 existing NWPs that were not reissued or modified by the January 13, 2021 final rule. Those 40 NWPs will remain in effect until the Corps issues a final rule reissuing those NWPs or March 18, 2022, whichever comes first. Thank you for your collaboration during the reissuance process. - Linda
September 15, 2020: Nationwide Permits
On September 15, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published in the Federal Register its proposal to reissue the 52 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and issue five new NWPs. The Federal Register notice is the public’s opportunity to comment on the proposed NWPs, general conditions, and definitions. Comments on national issues relating to these NWPs should be submitted to docket number COE-2020-0002 at www.regulations.gov, or by email to email@example.com or by mail to Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Directorate of Civil Works, ATTN: CECW-CO-R, 441 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20314-1000. Comments on the proposed NWPs are due by November 16, 2020.
On September 16, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Honolulu District Regulatory Office, issued a public notice seeking comments on the proposed Honolulu District specific regional conditions. Comments on the proposed regional conditions should be sent to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District Regulatory Office, ATTN: Linda Speerstra, CEPOH-RO, Building 230, Fort Shafter, Hawaii 96858-5540 or via email at CEPOH-RO@usace.army.mil. Comments relating to regional conditions are due by October 30, 2020.
June 19, 2020 : Section 401 WQC (Blanket Certification)
The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Regulatory Branch and the Department of Health Clean Water Branch (CWB) have been working closely and cooperatively to revised the Section 401 WQC (Blanket Certification). The Blanket Certification provides the public with an expeditious permitting process that safeguards the environment by authorizing activities which result in no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse effects.
The blanket certification is in effect and may be utilized by any applicant that is seeking verification and/or authorization for the following activities:
- NWP 1 – Aids to Navigation
- NWP 2 – Structures in Artificial Canals
- NWP 3 – Maintenance
- NWP 4 – Fish and Wildlife Harvesting, Enhancement, and Attraction Devices and Activities
- NWP 5 – Scientific Measurement Devices
- NWP 6 – Survey Activities
- NWP 7 – Outfall Structures and Associated Intake Structures
- NWP 8 – Oil and Gas Structures on the Outer Continental Shelf
- NWP 9 – Structures in Fleeting and Anchorage Areas
- NWP 10 - Mooring Buoys
- NWP 11 – Temporary Recreational Structures
- NWP 12 – Utility Line Activities
- NWP 13 – Bank Stabilization
- NWP 14 – Linear Transportation Projects
- NWP 18 – Minor Discharge
- NWP 19 – Minor Dredging
- NWP 28 – Modifications of Existing Marinas
- NWP 31 – Maintenance of Existing Flood Control Facilities
- NWP 35 – Maintenance Dredging of Existing Basins
- Letters of Permission – Section 10 only activities with no discharge of fill material
- Any activity conducted in compliance with DOH pre-approved Standard Operating Procedures
There are specific conditions that will apply to all activities and there are limitations associated with specific activities. The full blanket certification can be found at: https://health.hawaii.gov/cwb/permitting/section-401-wqc/blanket-section-401-wqc/ .
May 21, 2020: Final 2018 National Wetland Plant List (NWPL)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), as part of an interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is announcing the availability of the final 2018 National Wetland Plant List (NWPL). The Federal Register Notice for the 2018 NWPL update can be found here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-05-18/pdf/2020-10630.pdf.
The NWPL provides plant species indicator status ratings, which are used in determining whether the hydrophytic vegetation factor is met when conducting wetland delineations under the Clean Water Act and wetland determinations under the Wetland Conservation Provisions of the Food Security Act. Other applications of the NWPL include wetland restoration, establishment, and enhancement projects. The list is effective as of May 18, 2020 and will be used in any wetland delineations performed after this date. Completed wetland delineation/determination forms should reference the version of the NWPL used to complete the form. The final NWPL is available at http://wetland-plants.usace.army.mil/. State, regional, and national lists can also be downloaded from this site.
EPA and U.S. Army publish
Navigable Waters Protection Rule
April 21, 2020
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” was published in the Federal Register. This final rule establishes the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters and provides specific exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated. The final rule will become effective on June 22, 2020. The published version is 93 pages, and the citation is: 85 FR 22250.
The Federal Register notice is available at:
Additional information about the rule can be found on the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/nwpr.
USACE Regulatory COVID 19 Update:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Honolulu District Regulatory Branch is currently working remotely through April 30, 2020 to align with the Mayor of Honolulu and Governor of Hawaii's "Stay at Home, Work at Home" initiative to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
We are working through the transition and will continue to process pending projects along with any new regulatory submissions. At this time, we are not able to conduct face-to-face meetings or conduct site visits. The Corps has many options for teleconferences along with web meetings.
Please reach out to us through phone calls and/or email. We are requesting all new applications be sent electronically to our regular email address: CEPOH-RO@usace.army.mil .
Stay safe and well. Best regards - Linda Speerstra, Chief, Honolulu District Regulatory Branch
Department of the Army Regulatory Program
The Department of the Army Regulatory Program is one of the oldest in the federal government. Initially it served to protect and maintain the navigable capacity of the nation's waters. Time, changing public needs, evolving policy, case law and new statutory mandates have changed the program, adding to its breadth, complexity and authority. The mission of the Corps’ regulatory program is to protect the Nation's waters for current and future generations while allowing for reasonable economic development. Regulatory efforts protect a wide variety of aquatic resources, including wetlands, rivers, streams, tidal waters, coral reefs, shellfish beds, and the oceans. Our permit process is designed to minimize environmental impacts of construction and dredging activities in U.S. waters and to ensure that such efforts are thoughtful and coordinated. The Regulatory Program is committed to protecting the Nation's aquatic resources and navigation capacity while allowing reasonable development through fair and balanced decisions. The Corps evaluates permit applications for essentially all construction activities that occur in the Nation's waters, including wetlands. The Honolulu District evaluates about 300 permit applications each year under its regulatory program..
To apply for a Nationwide Permit (NWP) or a Jurisdictional Determination, please call the Honolulu District Regulatory Office at (808) 835-4303 or email CEPOH-RO@usace.army.mil to request application materials.