In addition to the penalty, the construction company will spend $150,000 to repair and restore 9 acres of wetlands crucial to these populations.
The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) protects the nation’s coasts, rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands, which are vital to the protection of human health and the environment.
Section 404 of the CWA requires anyone who proposes to fill and alter protected waterways, including wetlands, to first obtain permit authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
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How to Get Started with Wetlands Permitting
Once the determination has been made that a federal permit is required, the process of working with the agency begins. The first step will generally be identification of the regional U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) office for the project in question and gathering the required information to submit a complete application to this office.
Potential permit applicants may contact the district engineer or the regulatory staff for pre-application consultation in order for applicants to assess the viability of some of the more obvious potential alternatives in the application and to provide applicants with all helpful information necessary in pursuing the application.
Pre-application consultation usually involves one or more meetings between an applicant, Corps district staff, interested resource agencies (federal, state, or local), and, on occasion, the interested public. The basic purpose of such meetings is to provide for informal discussions about the pros and cons of a proposal before an applicant makes irreversible commitments of resources (funds, detailed designs, etc.). The process is designed to provide the applicant with an assessment of the viability of some of the more obvious alternatives available to accomplish the project purpose. In addition, measures are discussed for reducing the impacts of the project and to inform him or her of the factors the Corps must consider in its decision-making process.
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All applications for Corps permits must include:
- •A description of the proposed activity, including necessary drawings, sketches, or plans sufficient for public notice
•The location, purpose, and need for the proposed activity
•Scheduling of the activity
•The names and addresses of adjoining property owners
•The location and dimensions of adjacent structures
•A list of authorizations required by other federal, interstate, state, or local agencies for the work, including all approvals received or denials already made
If the project involves dredging in navigable waters of the United States, the application must include a description of the type, composition, and quantity of the material to be dredged, the method of dredging, and the site and plans for disposal of the dredged materials. If the activity includes the discharge of dredged or fill materials into the waters of the United States or the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of disposing it in ocean waters, the application must include the source of the material, the purpose of the discharge, a description of the type, composition, and quantity of the material, the method of transportation and disposal of the material, and the location of the disposal site. If the activity involves the construction of a filled area or pile- or float-supported platform, the project description must include the use of, and specific structures to be erected on, the fill or platform.
For activities involving discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, the application must include a statement describing how impacts to those waters are to be avoided and minimized. The application must also include either a statement describing how impacts will be compensated for or a statement explaining why compensatory mitigation should not be required.
There are application fees for commercial, industrial, and noncommercial activities. When the Corps issues a permit, applicants are notified and asked to submit the required fee payable to the Treasurer of the United States. No federal fees are charged for transferring a permit from one property owner to another, for letters of permission, or for any activities authorized by a general permit or for permits to governmental agencies. Any permit modification that is significant enough to require publication of a public notice will require a fee.
But some activities are exempt from these permits. See tomorrow’s Advisor to see if your activities can get out you out of Section 404 permit requirements.