Comment Period: June 15, 2016 – August 1, 2016
On June 1, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published in the Federal Register its proposal to reissue 50 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and issue two new NWPs.
Nationwide permits are general permits issued on a nationwide basis to streamline the authorization of activities that result in no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. Many of the proposed NWPs require notification to the district engineer before commencing those activities, to ensure that the activities authorized by those NWPs cause no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects.
National Issues Concerning the Proposed 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-2015-0017 at www.regulations.gov , or by email to NWP2017@usace.army.mil 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. Instructions for submitting comments are provided in the June 1, 2016 Federal Register notice. Comments on the proposed NWPs are due by August 1, 2016.
Regional Issues Concerning the Proposed NWPs, Including Regional Conditioning: Division engineers are authorized to add regional conditions specific to the needs and/or requirements of a particular region or state. Regional conditions are important mechanisms to ensure that the adverse environmental effects of activities authorized by the NWPs are no more than minimal, both individually and cumulatively. Division engineers may also suspend or revoke specific NWPs in certain geographic areas (e.g., states or watersheds) or high-value aquatic systems where the adverse environmental effects caused by activities authorized by those NWPs may be more than minimal. A map showing the boundary of the Sacramento District within the State of California is attached (Enclosure 1). Enclosures for this public notice list the proposed regional conditions and proposed changes from the 2012 regional conditions currently under consideration by the South Pacific Division for the boundaries of the Sacramento District within portions of the State of California (Enclosure 2) and the entire State of Nevada, including the Lake Tahoe Basin in California (Enclosure 3) and the State of Utah (Enclosure 4). As the lead District within the State of California, the Sacramento District has coordinated with the Los Angeles District and San Francisco District to develop a list of seven joint Regional Conditions to be used by each District. These seven joint Regional Conditions have been incorporated into the proposed regional conditions. The Sacramento District is seeking comments on the proposed regional conditions and on the need for any additional regional conditions to help ensure that the adverse environmental effects of activities authorized by the proposed NWPs are no more than minimal, individually and cumulatively.
Unless otherwise noted, all proposed regional conditions listed on this enclosure are applicable for activities in California, Nevada and Utah, within the boundary of the Sacramento District. Written comments on regional issues relating to the proposed NWPs and proposed regional conditions should be sent to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, 1325 J Street, Room 1350, Sacramento California 95814-2922, Attn: Ms. Lisa M. Gibson, or via email at Lisa.M.Gibson2@usace.army.mil. Comments relating to regional conditions are due by August 1, 2016. Similar public notices proposing regional conditions in other regions or States are being published concurrently by other division or district offices.
Once the final NWPs are issued, the final regional conditions will be issued after they are approved by the Division Commander. At that time, States and Tribes will make their Clean Water Act Section 401 (401) water quality certification and States will make their Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency determination decisions. The 401/CZMA decisions must be made within 90 days of the Federal Register notice announcing the issuance of the NWPs. The final NWPs will go into effect on March 19, 2017.
Draft decision documents for each of the proposed NWPs, which include environmental documentation prepared for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act, have been written by Corps Headquarters. The decision documents will address compliance of the NWPs with the requirements for issuance under the Corps general permit authority. These documents, as well as the proposed NWPs, are available for viewing at www.regulations.gov, docket number COE-2015-0017. Final decision documents will be prepared for the NWPs that are issued. In addition, the final NWP decision documents will be supplemented by each Division Engineer to address their decisions concerning regional conditions for the NWPs.
Enclosed is an index of the proposed NWPs and conditions (Enclosure 5). Anyone wishing to provide comments may obtain a full text copy of the NWPs through the Corps’ Headquarters webpage at: http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/RegulatoryProgramandPermits/NationwidePermits.aspx , at www.regulations.gov in docket number COE-2015-0017, or at the Federal Register address at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-06-01/pdf/2016-12083.pdf.
If you have questions, or would like a hard copy of this Public Notice or the attachments, please contact Regulatory Permit Specialist Lisa Gibson at 916-557-5288 or Lisa.M.Gibson2@usace.army.mil.
Enclosure 1: California Regulatory Districts Map
Enclosure 2: Draft Sacramento District Nationwide Permit (NWP) Regional Conditions for California, excluding the Lake Tahoe Basin and Proposed Changes to the 2017 Sacramento District Regional Conditions for California, Excluding the Lake Tahoe Basin
Enclosure 3: Draft Sacramento District Nationwide Permit (NWP) Regional Conditions for Nevada and the Lake Tahoe Basin in California and Proposed Changes to the 2017 Sacramento District Regional Conditions for Nevada and the Lake Tahoe Basin in California
Enclosure 4: Draft Sacramento District Nationwide Permit (NWP) Regional Conditions for Utah and Proposed Changes to the 2017 Sacramento District Regional Conditions Utah
Enclosure 5: Index of Proposed Nationwide Permits, Conditions, and Definitions