The Corps has two types of Department of the Army permits: General Permits and Individual Permits
General permits authorize activities that are similar in nature and cause only minimal adverse environmental impacts to aquatic resources, separately or on a cumulative basis.
There are two types of general permits: Nationwide Permits and Regional General Permits.
• Nationwide Permits
Nationwide Permits are issued by the Corps on a national basis and are designed to streamline Department of the Army authorization of projects such as commercial developments, utility lines or road improvements that impact the nation's aquatic environment.
To ensure activities authorized by Nationwide Permits cause only minimal adverse environmental effects, Corps division engineers are authorized to add regional conditions to protect local aquatic ecosystems. Nationwide Permits are proposed, issued, modified, reissued or extended, and revoked from time to time, after the opportunity for public notice and comment.
An activity may be authorized under a Nationwide Permit only if it meets both the national and regional conditions of the permit, including compliance with the Endangered Species Act and any special conditions added by the Corps. If the Corps finds that the proposed activity would have more than minimal individual or cumulative net adverse impact on the environment, or may be contrary to the public interest, you would need to modify your proposal to reduce or eliminate those adverse effects, or apply for a Standard Individual Permit.
• Regional General Permits
A Regional General Permit is issued for a specific geographic area by an individual Corps District. Each Regional General Permit has specific terms and conditions, all of which must be met for project-specific actions to be verified.
If your project does not comply with all of the terms and conditions, authorization may be granted by another type of Department of the Army permit, however, the process will likely take longer. Therefore, to expedite review of your application, we recommend modifying projects to meet all terms and conditions of the applicable RGP.
Individual Permits are for activities that do not fit the requirements for a Nationwide Permit or Regional General Permit. There are two types of Individual Permits: Standard Individual Permits and Letters of Permission.
• Standard Individual Permits
A Standard Individual Permit is required for activities having more than minimal impacts and/or for activities that do not qualify for a Nationwide Permit or Regional General Permit. An important distinction between an Individual Permit and a Nationwide Permit or Regional General Permit is the public interest review requirement. Nationwide Permits and Regional General Permits undergo public review as part of their development process; however, project-specific actions can be authorized by Nationwide Permit or Regional General Permit without further public review.
A Standard Individual Permit is subject to the public interest review process on a project-specific basis. A public notice will be issued for a Standard Individual Permit application to allow federal, state and local agencies, adjacent property owners and the general public an opportunity to review and comment on the plan or to request a public hearing. Applications involving public notices are typically completed within four to six months. However, some complex activities, issues or legal requirements may require additional review and take more time.
• Letter of Permission
A Letter of Permission is a type of Individual Permit issued through a more streamlined process. Letters of Permission are typically for activities subject to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act only. Individual Corps districts may develop Letter of Permissions applicable for work subject to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act after coordinating with state and federal agencies and allowing the opportunity for public comment.
A letter of permission may be issued for projects where proposed work would be minor, would not have significant individual or cumulative impacts on environmental values, and isn’t expected to encounter appreciable opposition. These types of projects usually include minor dredging and construction, maintenance, or replacement of piers, mooring buoys, piles, or floats. Compliance reviews under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act still apply for a letter of permission.
EMERGENCY AND EXPEDITED PERMITS
The Corps characterizes an emergency as a situation which would result in an unacceptable hazard to life, a significant loss of property, or an immediate, unforeseen and significant economic hardship if no action is taken. In these situations, the District Engineer can authorize expedited reviews of permit applications.
You must notify the Corps of the need to perform emergency work before taking any action, if possible. Call the Corps Regulatory Project Manager for your county as soon as possible to discuss the situation. Alternatively, you can contact the Portland or Eugene Section chief for assistance.
The Corps has the responsibility to determine if the proposed work is consistent with the Corps' definition of an emergency, whether authorization is needed, and if so, which type of authorization is required. Unauthorized work may be subject to enforcement action.
The Corps may not view an action as an emergency if the applicant has known of the deficient condition of the failing structure and has not made reasonable attempts to secure appropriate permits and conduct timely repairs. Emergency declarations by the state or a county government do not mean all repair activities qualify as emergency situations.
All permit reviews, including emergency reviews, require coordination with tribes and state and federal agencies. In an emergency, reasonable effort will be made to receive comments from interest groups and others who may be affected by the action.
FEES AND COSTS
There are no fees for general permits and letters of permission issued by the Corps. The following fees apply when a project has been approved and a Standard Individual Permit is issued by the Corps and accepted by the applicant:
• $10 for individuals (non-commercial activities)
• $100 for businesses (commercial and industrial activities)
• No fees are charged to governmental agencies