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REGULATORY NEWS

Feb.1, 2022: Announcing the Honolulu District's Regional Conditions and the Remaining 41 2021 Nationwide Permits

On December 27, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published a final rule in the Federal Register (86 FR 73522) announcing the reissuance of 40 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and one new NWP. These 41 NWPs will go into effect on February 25, 2022, and they will expire on March 14, 2026.The Corps and EPA will be hosting a virtual meeting for applicants on February 24, 2022, 1:00–2:30 pm Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time to discuss the 2021 NWPs, Clean Water Act 401 implementation, and Waters of the U.S. regulation changes.  If you wish to attend, please register by February 22, 2022, at https://usace1.webex.com/usace1/j.php?RGID=rb64fe8aa4f0a2b9339afca26a5afa2bf

If you have any questions, please contact the Regulatory Office at 808-835-4303

 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, https://wetland-plants.sec.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.

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..

Contact Information

Regulatory Office
Building 252
Fort Shafter, HI  96858-5440
(808) 835-4303
CEPOH-RO@usace.army.mil 

Guam Field Office
Apra Harbor Naval Complex
PSC 455 Box 188
FPO, AP 96540-1088  Guam
(671) 339-2108 
CEPOH-RO@usace.army.mil