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Army Corps of Engineers, DoD Modified Nationwide Permits Went into Effect March 15, 2021

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ECORP is notifying its clients that the Army Corps of Engineers has reissued 12 Nationwide Permits (NWPs) and issued four new NWPs. The Nationwide Permit Program is a set of general permits that allow a streamlined process for permitting of minimal impacts under Clean Water Act Section 404. The reissued and new NWPs went into effect on March 15, 2021. 

The USACE has stated that changes to the NWPs are expected to decrease the paperwork burden associated with pre-construction notifications by not only decreasing the number of notifications required before work starts, but also decreasing the number of activities that require individual permits.

NWPs issued under the 2021 program will be valid until March 2026. NWPs that were issued for projects under the 2017 program, but were not among the 12 reissued, will expire in March 2022. If your project was issued a 2017 NWP that is among the 12 NWPs to be reissued, please contact ECORP for assistance to ensure compliance with the reissued permits.

The following NWPs were reissued with revisions:

  • NWP 12 – Oil or Natural Gas Pipeline Activities
  • NWP 21 – Surface Coal Mining Activities
  • 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
  • NWP 48 – Commercial Shellfish Mariculture Activities
  • NWP 50 – Underground Coal Mining Activities
  • NWP 51 – Land-Based Renewable Energy Generation Facilities
  • NWP 52 – Water-Based Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Projects

Below is a summary of the most noteworthy changes to the reissued NWPs:

  • NWP 12, which previously permitted utility lines, has been split into three separate NWPs – NWP 12 (Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Activities), NWP 57 (Electric Utility Line and Telecommunications Activities), and NWP 58 (Utility Line Activities for Water and Other Substances). Pre-Construction Notifications are now required for new oil or natural gas pipelines more than 250 miles in length.
  • The 300-linear-foot limit for losses of streambed has been removed for several NWPs, including NWPs for Residential Developments, Commercial and Institutional Developments, and Recreational Facilities (29, 39, and 42); Agricultural Activities (40); NWPs pertaining to Mining Activities (21, 44, and 50); and NWPs pertaining to Renewable Energy (51 and 52). The ½-acre limit on impacts remains where previously applied.
  • Within NWP 48 (Commercial Shellfish Mariculture Activities), the ½-acre limit for impacts to submerged aquatic vegetation was removed, and a pre-construction notification requirement was added.

The four new NWPs issued are:

  • 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

 I.       Reissuance and Modification of Nationwide Permits. Engineers Corps. Federal Register, The Daily Journal of the United States Government. January 13, 2021. Federal Register :: Reissuance and Modification of Nationwide Permits Accessed 4/9/2021 II.   Summary of the 2021 Nationwide Permits (grey rows) and 2017 Nationwide Permits (white rows). USACE Sacramento District Website Resources. January 4, 2021. Summary of the 2021 and 2017 Nationwide Permits.docx ( Accessed 6/5/2021

For more information on the Nation Wide Permit Program contact Lourdes Gonzales-Peralta at (916) 782-9100, or Scott Taylor at (909) 307-0046.

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