What this permitting pathway provides
A more efficient way to acquire Section 10 Rivers and Harbors Act and Section 404 Clean Water Act permits than to apply for individual permits. Compensatory mitigation is not required for activities authorized by this Nationwide Permit (NWP) since these activities must result in net increases in aquatic resource functions and services.
To be authorized by this NWP, the aquatic habitat restoration, enhancement, or establishment activity must be planned, designed, and implemented so that it results in aquatic habitat that resembles an ecological reference. An ecological reference may be based on the characteristics of an intact aquatic habitat or riparian area of the same type that exists in the region. An ecological reference may be based on a conceptual model developed from regional ecological knowledge of the target aquatic habitat type or riparian area.
This NWP covers activities in waters of the United States associated with the restoration, enhancement, and establishment of tidal and non-tidal wetlands and riparian areas, the restoration and enhancement of nontidal streams and other non-tidal open waters, and the rehabilitation or enhancement of tidal streams, tidal wetlands, and tidal open waters, provided those activities result in net increases in aquatic resource functions and services.
To the extent that a Corps permit is required, activities authorized by this NWP include, but are not limited to:
To the extent that a Corps permit is required, activities authorized by this NWP include, but are not limited to
- the removal of accumulated sediments;
- releases of sediment from reservoirs to maintain sediment transport continuity to restore downstream habitats;
- the installation, removal, and maintenance of small water control structures, dikes, and berms, as well as discharges of dredged or fill material to restore appropriate stream channel configurations after small water control structures, dikes, and berms are removed;
- the installation of current deflectors;
- the enhancement, rehabilitation, or reestablishment of riffle and pool stream structure;
- the placement of in-stream habitat structures; modifications of the stream bed and/or banks to enhance, rehabilitate, or re-establish stream meanders;
- the removal of stream barriers, such as undersized culverts, fords, and grade control structures;
- the backfilling of artificial channels; the removal of existing drainage structures, such as drain tiles, and the filling, blocking, or reshaping of drainage ditches to restore wetland hydrology;
- the installation of structures or fills necessary to restore or enhance wetland or stream hydrology;
- the construction of small nesting islands; the construction of open water areas;
- the construction of oyster habitat over unvegetated bottom in tidal waters;
- coral restoration or relocation activities; shellfish seeding;
- activities needed to reestablish vegetation, including plowing or discing for seed bed preparation and the planting of appropriate wetland species;
- reestablishment of submerged aquatic vegetation in areas where those plant communities previously existed;
- reestablishment of tidal wetlands in tidal waters where those wetlands previously existed;
- mechanized land clearing to remove non-native invasive, exotic, or nuisance vegetation;
- and other related activities. Only native plant species should be planted at the site.
This NWP authorizes the relocation of non-tidal waters, including non-tidal wetlands and streams, on the project site provided there are net increases in aquatic resource functions and services. Except for the relocation of non-tidal waters on the project site, this NWP does not authorize the conversion of a stream or natural wetlands to another aquatic habitat type (e.g., the conversion of a stream to wetland or vice versa) or uplands. Changes in wetland plant communities that occur when wetland hydrology is more fully restored during wetland rehabilitation activities are not considered a conversion to another aquatic habitat type.
Note: This NWP can be used to authorize compensatory mitigation projects, including mitigation banks and in-lieu fee
projects. However, this NWP does not authorize the reversion of an area used for a compensatory mitigation project to its prior condition, since compensatory mitigation is generally intended to be permanent.
This NWP does not authorize stream channelization. This NWP does not authorize the relocation of tidal waters or the conversion of tidal waters, including tidal wetlands, to other aquatic uses, such as the conversion of tidal wetlands into open water impoundments.
Application Tips and Resources
To qualify for NWP authorization, the prospective permittee must comply with the following general conditions, as applicable, in addition to any regional or case-specific conditions imposed by the division engineer or district engineer. Nationwide Permit General Conditions start on page 2 of NWP-27.
Regional Conditions for California
Prospective permittees should contact the appropriate Corps district office to determine if regional conditions have been imposed on an NWP. Prospective permittees should also contact the appropriate Corps district office to determine the status of Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification and/ or Coastal Zone Management Act consistency for an NWP.
Do you need to submit a pre-construction notification?
The permittee must submit a pre-construction notification (PCN) to the district engineer prior to commencing any activity (see general condition 32), except for the following activities:
- Activities conducted on non-Federal public lands and private lands, in accordance with the terms and conditions of a binding stream enhancement or restoration agreement or wetland enhancement, restoration, or establishment agreement between the landowner and the FWS, NRCS, FSA, NMFS, NOS, USFS or their designated state cooperating agencies;
- Activities conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions of a binding coral restoration or relocation agreement between the project proponent and the NMFS or any of its designated state cooperating agencies;
- Voluntary stream or wetland restoration or enhancement action, or wetland establishment action, documented by the NRCS or USDA Technical Service Provider pursuant to NRCS Field Office Technical Guide standards; or
- The reclamation of surface coal mine lands, in accordance with an SMCRA permit issued by the OSMRE or the applicable state agency.
However, the permittee must submit a copy of the appropriate documentation to the district engineer to fulfill the reporting requirement. (Authorities: Sections 10 and 404).
Pre-Construction Notification details
Where required by the terms of the NWP, the prospective permittee must notify the district engineer by submitting a pre-construction notification (PCN) as early as possible. The district engineer must determine if the PCN is complete within 30 calendar days of the date of receipt and, if the PCN is determined to be incomplete, notify the prospective permittee within that 30 day period to request the additional information necessary to make the PCN complete. The request must specify the information needed to make the PCN complete. As a general rule, district engineers will request additional information necessary to make the PCN complete only once. However, if the prospective permittee does not provide all of the requested information, then the district engineer will notify the prospective permittee that the PCN is still incomplete and the PCN review process will not commence until all of the requested information has been received by the district engineer. The prospective permittee shall not begin the activity until either:
- He or she is notified in writing by the district engineer that the activity may proceed under the NWP with any special conditions imposed by the district or division engineer; or
- 45 calendar days have passed from the district engineer’s receipt of the complete PCN and the prospective permittee has not received written notice from the district or division engineer. However, if the permittee was required to notify the Corps pursuant to general condition 18 that listed species or critical habitat might be affected or are in the vicinity of the activity, or to notify the Corps pursuant to general condition 20 that the activity might have the potential to cause effects to historic properties, the permittee cannot begin the activity until receiving written notification from the Corps that there is “no effect” on listed species or “no potential to cause effects” on historic properties, or that any consultation required under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (see 33 CFR 330.4(f)) and/or section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (see 33 CFR 330.4(g)) has been completed. If the proposed activity requires a written waiver to exceed specified limits of an NWP, the permittee may not begin the activity until the district engineer issues the waiver. If the district or division engineer notifies the permittee in writing that an individual permit is required within 45 calendar days of receipt of a complete PCN, the permittee cannot begin the activity until an individual permit has been obtained. Subsequently, the permittee’s right to proceed under the NWP may be modified, suspended, or revoked only in accordance with the procedure set forth in 33 CFR 330.5(d)(2).