The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is most known for its involvement in public works and disaster relief. While their duties cover a broad range of responsibilities in these fields and more, their main responsibility is to manage and protect the nation’s waterways. If your construction involves a lake or river on U.S. soil, you need to obtain a permit from the USACE. Now, how do you do that?
Before the USACE can grant a permit for your project, they will need to evaluate the proposed impact of your project, as well as what other groups have to say at local, state, and federal levels. The USACE will also have to consider if any private property is involved and what the owner of said property wants to do. The USACE does this to maintain fairness in the permit process; if a group is opposed to your project, they get a chance to explain why.
Based on their decision, the USACE will issue one of the following permit types: general, or individual.
- General permits: these permits are issued if the impact form your project is minimal. General permits fall into three further categories: nationwide, regional, and programmatic.
- Nationwide general permits are used for development projects conducted by the Department of the Army.
- Regional general permits cover projects within a specific geographic area and USACE district. If you want to learn more about the rules and regulations for the district you live in, check out the list of regions the USACE provided.
- Programmatic general permits are issued based on programs that already exist. If a program exists under a nationwide permit, the programmatic permit will replace it to eliminate duplicates.
- Individual permits: if the impact of a project is greater than the previous permits cover, you may be issued an individual permit. Individual permits also take public interest and impact into account, more so than other permit types.
Once you know what kind of permit you need and you know any rules, term, or conditions for your district, your next step is to fill out a permit application then submit to the USACE for review.