January 12, 2017 - Public Notice Announcing the Federal Register Notice of the Reissuance of the Nationwide Permits
On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published the notice in the Federal Register announcing the reissuance of all 50 existing nationwide permits (NWPs), general conditions, and definitions with some modifications. The Corps also issued two new NWPs, one new general condition, and five new definitions. The 2017 NWPs will go into effect on March 19, 2017, and will expire on March 18, 2022.
With the publication of this Federal Register notice, Corps districts will begin finalizing their regional conditions for the new and reissued NWPs. 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. Regional conditions will help ensure protection of high value waters within the Southwestern Division and South Pacific Division for Albuquerque District, Fort Worth District, Galveston District and Tulsa District.
The proposed final regional conditions currently under consideration by the Southwestern Division and South Pacific Division for Albuquerque District, Fort Worth District, Galveston District and Tulsa District can be reviewed here. As the lead District for the Corps’ Regulatory program in Texas, the Galveston District is seeking comments on the proposed final 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.
Comments on regional issues relating to the proposed NWPs and proposed final regional conditions are due by February 11, 2017 and should be sent to:
Regulatory Division, CESWG-RD-P
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
P.O. Box 1229
Galveston, Texas 77553-1229
The publication of this Federal Register notice also begins the 60-day period for states, Tribes, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to complete their water quality certification (WQC) processes for the NWPs. The 60-day period for WQC will end on March 6, 2017. This Federal Register notice also begins the 90-day period for coastal states to complete their Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency determination processes. The 90-day period for CZMA consistency determinations will end on April 5, 2017.
January 12, 2017
The National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils has updated the Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in the United States to version 8.0. in electronic format at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/use/hydric/
The updated version of the Field Indicators includes all changes made in the errata for version 7.0. There are also two general format changes that were made to some indicators to provide better consistency and clarity that have no effect on the requirements of the indicator. The first change is that the word within was removed and replaced with at a depth ≤. For example F3. Depleted Matrix used to read “… starting within 25 cm…” and now reads “…starting at a depth ≤25 cm…” The other general format change that was made is in indicators that used to give thickness requirement entirely within a bottom depth. These indicators now state the thickness requirement and the top depth. For example F6. Redox Dark Surface used to read “…10 cm thick entirely within 30 cm…” and now reads “…10 cm thick starting at a depth ≤20 cm…” These wording changes do not change the requirements of any indicator, therefore a soils that met the indicator the way it was previously worded should still meet the indicator and a soil that did not meet the indicator will continue to not meet that indicator. The changes were made due to many questions brought about by confusion caused by the original wording and many recommendations to make these changes to provide better clarity and consistency with wording of other indicators.
October 31, 2016 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today the issuance of a new Regulatory Guidance Letter (RGL) 16-01 regarding "Jurisdictional Determinations." The RGL explains the differences between approved and preliminary jurisdictional determinations (JDs) and provides guidance to the field and the regulated public on when it may be appropriate to issue an AJD as opposed to a PJD, or when it may be appropriate to not prepare any JD whatsoever. The Corps reaffirms its commitment to continue its practice of providing JDs when requested to do so, consistent with the guidance in the RGL. The RGL is available here and a set of Questions and Answers and other supporting information can be found here.
June 1, 2016- Flood Recovery and Repair Activities within the Fort Worth District- In response to the severe flooding and other storm related damages in the Fort Worth District, it is anticipated that municipalities and owners of damaged property will want to conduct repair activities immediately and in the near future. This Public Notice will provide guidance and a summary of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Section 404 Clean Water Act permits which may be required for dredging or placing fill in waters of the United States, including rivers, lakes, streams, creeks, and wetlands. However, many of the permits have scopes of work and thresholds which allow you to accomplish your project without delay or waiting for an authorization.
Public Notice - 2016 Flood Recovery and Repair Activities
October 9, 2015 - the Sixth Circuit issued an order staying the new Clean Water Rule nationwide, pending a determination by the court on jurisdiction to review the rule. Thus, the Clean Water Rule is stayed, and the prior 1986 regulations are in effect nationwide. In the meantime, USACE is not implementing the Clean Water Rule, and is using the 1986 regulations and applicable guidance (those in effect prior to August 28, 2015) in making jurisdictional determinations or taking other actions based on the definition of "waters of the United States.
For more information and updates, please visit the USACE HQ site at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/RegulatoryProgramandPermits/juris_info.aspx
On June 6, 2016, the USEPA signed an Administrative Order to Chesapeake Operating, LLC citing violations of the Clean Water Act resulting from the dredged and fill activities involving wetlands and an intermittent stream just west of Crystal City, Zavala County, Texas. A Consent on Agreement and Final Order between EPA and Chesapeake Operating, LLC to settle violation of Section 301(a) of the Act resulted in a $9,000 civil penalty. Chesapeake Operating, LLC, will also restore the functions of the wetland and stream. The work was discovered by the Fort Worth Regulatory Branch and referred to USEPA.
On March 18, 2015, the USEPA signed a Consent Agreement and Final Order with CTMGT Tuberville, LLC assessing a Class I civil penalty of $4,500 under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for unauthorized work and a violation of permit conditions on a subdivision in Denton, Texas. The work was discovered by the Regulatory Branch and referred to USEPA as a knowing and willful violation. In addition to the fine, the permittee was ordered to restore the area within permit conditions.