ANNOUNCING THE HONOLULU DISTRICT’S REGIONAL CONDITIONS TO THE SIXTEEN 2021 NATIONWIDE PERMITS
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 (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-andmodification-of-nationwide-permits
These 16 NWPs will go into effect on March 15, 2021, and will expire on March 14, 2026:
• NWP 12 – Oil or Natural Gas Pipeline Activities
• NWP 21 – Surface Coal Mining Activities (Revoked in Honolulu District)
• NWP 29 – Residential Developments
• NWP 39 – Commercial and Institutional Developments
• NWP 40 – Agricultural Activities
• NWP 42 – Recreational Facilities
• NWP 43 – Stormwater Management Facilities
• NWP 44 – Mining Activities (Revoked in Honolulu District)
• NWP 48 – Commercial Shellfish Mariculture Activities
• NWP 50 – Underground Coal Mining Activities (Revoked in Honolulu District)
• NWP 51 – Land-Based Renewable Energy Generation Facilities
• NWP 52 – Water-Based Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Projects (Revoked in Honolulu District)
• NWP 55 – Seaweed Mariculture Activities
• NWP 56 – Finfish Mariculture Activities
• NWP 57 – Electric Utility Line and Telecommunications Activities
• NWP 58 – Utility Line Activities for Water and Other Substances
Subsequent to the January 13, 2021, Federal Register notice, the Honolulu District finalized 4 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 Honolulu District prepared supplemental decision documents to the Corps’ final decision documents for the new and reissued NWPs. These supplemental decision documents address regional conditioning of the NWPs. This public notice announces the approval of 4 regional conditions by the Pacific Ocean Division Commander. The Honolulu District has the following information pertaining to Water Quality Certifications (WQC) for the 16 NWPs that go into effect on March 15, 2021:
- State of Hawaii, Department of Health, Clean Water Branch (accepted)
- American Samoa Government, Environmental Protection Agency (ASG-EPA) (procedurally waived)
- Guam Environmental Protection Agency (GEPA) (procedurally waived)
- CNMI Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, Division of Environmental Quality (BECQ-DEQ) (denied)
The Honolulu District has the following information pertaining to the Coastal Zone Management Act Consistency Determinations (CZMA) for the 16 NWPs that go into effect on March 15, 2021:
- State of Hawaii, Hawaii Office of Planning (conditional concurrence)
- American Samoa Government, Department of Commerce (presumed concurrence)
- Guam Coastal Management Program Bureau of Statistics and Plans (review attached matrix in public notice)
- CNMI Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, Division of Environmental Quality (review attached matrix in public notice)
There are 40 existing NWPs that were not reissued or modified by the January 13, 2021 final rule. Those 40 NWPs were published in the January 6, 2017, issue of the Federal Register (82 FR 1860). The 40 existing 2017 NWPs and regional conditions remain in effect until the Corps issues a final rule reissuing those NWPs or March 18, 2022, whichever comes first.
The Corps will be hosting a virtual meeting for prospective applicants on March 24, 2021, 2:00–3:30 pm Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time to discuss the 2021 NWPs and answers 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.
Attached are the Honolulu District’s 2021 regional conditions and WQC & CZMA matrix by geographic region.
HONOLULU DISTRICT REGIONAL CONDITIONS
2021 NATIONWIDE PERMITS (NWP)
(12, 29, 39, 40, 42, 43, 48, 51, 55, 56, 57, 58)
The Honolulu District Regulatory Office has issued the following Regional Conditions to ensure that activities authorized by NWPs in the Honolulu District cause no more than minimal adverse environmental effects, individually and cumulatively. Before the Honolulu District will verify an activity under one or more NWPs, the proposed activity must comply with the NWP terms and all applicable General and Regional Conditions.
APPLICABILITY: The Honolulu District’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) consists of the State of Hawaii, including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the territories of American Samoa and Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and the following U.S. Minor Outlying Islands: Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island.
Regional Condition 1 – Revoked Permits
The following NWPs are revoked within the Honolulu District’s AOR:
NWP 21 - Surface Coal Mining Activities
NWP 24 - Indian Tribe or State Administered Section 404 Programs
NWP 30 – Moist Soil Management for Wildlife
NWP 34 - Cranberry Production Activities
NWP 44 - Mining Activities
NWP 49 - Coal Remining Activities
NWP 50 - Underground Coal Mining Activities
NWP 52 - Water-Based Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Projects
Regional Condition 2 – Acreage Limit
The maximum acreage of permanent loss to special aquatic sites for a new project (excludes NWP-3 and NWP-27 activities) may not exceed 0.10-acre resulting from any discharge of dredged or fill material. Special aquatic sites include wetlands, coral reefs, riffle and pool complexes, vegetated shallows, mud flats, sanctuaries and refuges as defined in 40 CFR 230.3.
CONDITIONS APPLICABLE TO CERTAIN ACTIVITIES:
Regional Condition 3 - Revegetation
Native plants appropriate for current site conditions must be used for re-vegetation for the purposes of restoring areas temporarily disturbed by the authorized work.
Regional Condition 4 – Bank and Shoreline Stabilization Activities
a. For new bank stabilization projects in streams with vegetated slopes and/or natural bed and bank, vegetative and environmentally sensitive stabilization practices must be used whenever practicable. Documentation of consideration of environmentally sensitive bank stabilization practices must be included in the PCN to demonstrate whether the use of environmentally sensitive stabilization techniques is practicable given site-specific circumstances. Environmentally sensitive stabilization techniques incorporate organic materials to produce functional structure, provide wildlife habitat, and/or provide areas for re-vegetation. Examples of environmentally sensitive bank stabilization practices include, but are not limited to, the use of the following: adequate sized armoring keyed into the toe of the slope with native plantings, or other suitable vegetation, on the banks above; vegetated geogrids; coconut fiber coir logs; live woody vegetated cuttings; fascines or stumps; brush layering; soil lifts. In situations where the use of these stabilization techniques are not practicable (due to high stream flow velocities, for example) stream bank armoring should be designed to incorporate environmentally friendly natural features, if possible. Examples include: vegetated gabions, vegetated gabion mattresses, live cribwalls and joint plantings.
b. For new shoreline stabilization projects, environmentally sensitive designs that provide wave dissipation, interstitial spaces for fish, crustacean and invertebrate habitat, and other environmental benefits must be used whenever practicable. Documentation of consideration of environmentally sensitive shoreline stabilization practices must be included in the PCN to demonstrate whether the use of environmentally sensitive stabilization techniques is practicable.