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Overview - CRMC Assent - DEM Requirements - Federal Permits

Federal Permitting Process

Contact Information:
United States Army Corps of Engineers
New England District
696 Virginia Road
Concord, MA 01742-2751
1-800-362-4367 (in MA)

Link to Regulations:
Programatic General Permit

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regulates construction and other work in navigable waterways under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and the discharge of dredged or fill material into "waters of the United States" under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. "Waters of the United States" are navigable waters, tributaries to navigable waters, wetlands adjacent to those waters and/or isolated wetlands that have a demonstrated interstate commerce connection. The USACE also regulates certain discharges associated with the excavation and grading within those waters.

The Section 404 program is the principal way by which the federal government protects wetlands and other aquatic environments. The program's goal is to ensure protection of the aquatic environment, while allowing for necessary economic development. The USACE also regulates dredged material in ocean waters under Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (MPRSA) (Public Law 92-532). New England's offshore disposal sites, covered by the Clean Water Act and MPRSA, are managed and monitored through our Disposal Area Monitoring System (DAMOS).

The permit evaluation process includes a public notice with a public comment period. Application for complex projects may also require a public hearing before the USACE makes a permit decision. In its evaluation of applications, the USACE is required by law to consider all factors involving the public interest. These may include economics, environmental concerns, historical values, fish and wildlife, aesthetics, flood damage prevention, land use classifications, navigation, recreation, water supply, water quality, energy needs, food production, and the general welfare of the public.

The USACE has issued state Programmatic General Permits (PGP) in states with comprehensive wetland protection programs. These State General Permits allow applicants to do work for which a state permit has been issued. This reduces delays and paperwork for applicants and allows the USACE to devote its resources to the most significant cases while maintaining the environmental safeguards of the Clean Water Act.

Rhode Island is one of the New England states with a PGP. Prior to 1997, restoration projects were considered Individual Permits (see 33 CFR Part 325.1). The New England District amended the RI PGP on February 11, 1997 to allow proactive salt marsh restoration projects of any size to be reviewed as a Category 2 activity under the PGP process. The RI PGP was renewed February 11, 2002.

Applications and supporting materials for work that is clearly in the Individual Permit category should be submitted directly to the USACE as early as possible in order to expedite the permit review process. Category 1 and 2 activities do not require separate application to the USACE, but are processed through the appropriate state agency and the PGP process. General information and application forms can be obtained by calling the USACE New England Division at 1-800-343-4789 or 1-800-362-4367 (within Massachusetts). For the USACE list of Category 1 and 2 activities please see the USACE PGP web site or see the PGP Appendix A (PDF format).

Individual WQC and/or Coastal Zone Management (CZM) consistency concurrence is required from the appropriate R.I. Resource Agency(ies). Filing an Individual Permit application does not relieve the applicant's obligation to obtain all necessary state approvals from the appropriate R.I. Resource Agency(ies).

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Project Partner web pages - RIHRT, CRMC, NBEP, STB

This site was created through a partnership of the:

Coastal Resources Management Council
Narragansett Bay Estuary Program
Save The Bay®