Alternative/Emergency Permitting Procedures for Hurricane Sally
The Jacksonville District received emergency permitting authorization on September 24, 2020, in response to Hurricane Sally, which made landfall on Sep 16, 2020, near Gulf Shores, Alabama. These procedures have been granted for 6 months, or until Mar 24, 2021. As a result of Hurricane Sally, portions of Northwest Florida have been impacted by storm surge, winds, and flooding. The District has coordinated these emergency permitting procedures with resource Agencies and Tribes. An “emergency” is defined as a situation, which would result in an unacceptable hazard to life, a significant loss of property or an immediate, unforeseen, and significant economic hardship if corrective action requiring a permit is not undertaken within a time period less than the normal time needed to process the application under standard procedures. Typically, an emergency permit is for work that has to be done in a hurry. The District anticipates that many requests received may be addressed through one or more General Permits, including Nationwide Permits. The District will distribute a public notice on these procedures which may be found at: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices
11 Sep 2020 Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule Implemented:
Effective September 11, 2020, the “Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification Rule” (85 Fed. Reg. 42,210 (July 13, 2020)) is being implemented nationwide. The Rule (to be codified at 40 C.F.R. Part 121) establishes procedures that promote consistent implementation of CWA Section 401 and regulatory certainty in the federal permitting process. Section 401 of the CWA provides states and authorized tribes with an important tool to help protect the water quality of federally regulated waters within their borders, in collaboration with federal agencies. Section 401 of the CWA requires that, for any federally licensed or permitted project that may result in a discharge into waters of the United States, a water quality certification be issued to ensure that the discharge complies with applicable water quality requirements. The Rule addresses some key areas of the CWA Section 401 certification process, including timelines for review and action, the scope of certification review, and early engagement (pre-filing meetings). More information on the Rule is available at the following website: https://www.epa.gov/CWA-401 Also refer to the SAJ Public Notice announcing the 11 Sep 2020 Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule Implementation.
22 Jun 2020 – Navigable Waters Protection Rule becomes effective:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR): Definition of “Waters of the United States” became effective on June 22, 2020 in 49 states and all US territories. The NWPR establishes the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. The NWPR includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters and provides specific exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated. The Federal Register notice is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/21/2020-02500/the-navigable-waters-protection-rule-definition-of-waters-of-the-united-states. Additional information about the rule can be found on the EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/nwpr.
The interim approved jurisdictional determination form and user manual for the Navigable Waters Protection Rule can be found at https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Regulatory-Program-and-Permits/juris_info/.
2018 National Wetland Plant List
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 Army Publish the Navigable Waters Protection Rule
On 21 April 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army published the Navigable Waters Protection Rule defining "Waters of the United States” 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 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/21/2020-02500/the-navigable-waters-protection-rule-definition-of-waters-of-the-united-states. Additional information about the rule can be found on the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/nwpr.
January 28, 2020 - Emergency Permitting Authorization/Puerto Rico Earthquakes
Project Name: Puerto Rico Emergency Permitting
Counties: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Comment Due Date: N/A
Beginning in December 2019, and continuing through January 2020, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has been affected by numerous earthquakes and tremors, which have resulted in damage to infrastructure, buildings, and created hardship for the Puerto Rican people. In response to this natural disaster, the Jacksonville District has received alternative/emergency permit authorization from the South Atlantic Division Commander. The purpose of the alternative/emergency permitting procedures is to expedite permitting of regulated activities that have been determined as emergency situations. Per 33 CFR Part 325.2(e)(4) of our regulations, an emergency is defined as a situation, which would result in an unacceptable hazard to life, a significant loss of property or an immediate, unforeseen, and significant economic hardship if corrective action requiring a permit is not undertaken within a time period less than the normal time needed to process the application under standard procedures. The Jacksonville District stands ready to assist the public through implementation of alternative/emergency permitting procedures. These procedures are effective for 6 months as of 24 January 2020.
January 28, 2020 Puerto Rico Earthquake Emergency Permitting Public Notice
September 4, 2019 - Emergency Permitting Authorization/Hurricane Dorian
Project Name: Hurricane Dorian Emergency Permitting
Counties: All Counties within Florida; Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; USVI
Comment Due Date: N/A
Waterway and Location: All affected waters of the United States within the noted geographic areas
Authorized Work: The Jacksonville District Engineer has received authorization from the Commanding General, South Atlantic Division, to implement emergency permitting procedures to address 'emergency' requests following the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. These procedures are valid for 180 days from 4 September 2019, or through 1 March 2020, unless revoked, suspended, or extended. The District POC for this action is Mr. Clif Payne: email@example.com
September 4, 2019 Hurricane Dorian Emergency Permitting Public Notice
June 10, 2019 - National Wetland Plant List
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as part of an interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service, announces the draft biennial update to the National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) for 2018 in the Federal Register. The Corps encourages public input in the form of data, comments, literature references, or field experiences, to help clarify the status of the species reviewed for this update, as well as public input on the NWPL process. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed update or addition of wetland indicator status ratings for 20 plant species in select Corps wetland regions. These 20 reviewed species and their draft 2018 wetland ratings by region, as well as the FR notice, can be viewed at the NWPL homepage, http://wetland-plants.usace.army.mil/ under “2018 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. Guessing ratings is inappropriate. All submitted comments and information will be compiled and sent to the National Panel for their consideration.
The Corps is also seeking comments on 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):
1) Lichvar, Robert W. and Minkin, Paul. Concepts and Procedures for Updating the National Wetland Plant List. Sept 2008. ERDC/CRREL TN-08-3
2) 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
The Corps of Engineers will host a East Lake Toho drawdown and habitat restoration Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) public meeting May 2 at Osceola Heritage Park, 1921 Kissimmee Valley Lane, Kissimmee. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
The Draft EIS evaluates environmental effects of alternatives associated with a Federal Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regulatory permit application to lower the water level in the lake to facilitate removal of vegetative and other organic material.
For more information, visit https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1823788/corps-announces-public-meeting-for-east-lake-toho-drawdown-and-habitat-restorat/
February 14, 2019 - EPA and Army Publish Proposed Revised "Waters of the United States" Definition
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army announced on February 14, 2019 the publishing in the Federal Register of the proposed new definition of "waters of the United States" that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act. The notice is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/14/2019-00791/revised-definition-of-waters-of-the-united-states. The agencies' proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of "waters of the United States" consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled "Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the 'Waters of the United States' Rule." The publishing of the proposal and outreach efforts were delayed due to the lapse in appropriations for EPA. This notice begins a 60-day public comment period that will close on April 15, 2019. EPA and the Army will hold a listening session on the proposed rule in Kansas City, KS, on February 27-28, 2019. Information, including supporting analyses and fact sheets, are available at: https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/step-two-revise and https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.
To view the public notice announcing the proposed WOTUS Rule, CLICK HERE
January 7, 2019 - EPA and Army Postpone Public Hearing on Proposed New "Waters of the United States" Definition
Due to the lapse in appropriations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EPA and the Department of the Army (Army) have postponed the planned January 23 public hearing on the proposed new "Waters of the United States" definition until after appropriations have passed to fund the EPA. Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register is also postponed. Information on the status of the public hearing will be posted on the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/epa-and-army-postpone-public-hearing-proposed-new-waters-united-states-definition.
December 11, 2018 - EPA and Army Propose New "Waters of the United States" Definition
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army have proposed a new definition of "waters of the United States" that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act. The agencies' proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of "waters of the United States" consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled "Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the 'Waters of the United States' Rule." The agencies will take comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA and the Army will also hold an informational webcast on January 10, 2019, and will host a listening session on the proposed rule in Kansas City, KS, on January 23, 2019. More information including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice, the supporting analyses and fact sheets are available at: https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/step-two-revise and https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.