Home
Home > Media > Fact Sheets > Fact Sheet Article View

NWP General Conditions - Condition 31

Bookmark and Share Email Print

Nationwide Permits General Condition 31 (continued) Pre-Construction Notification

(b) Contents of Pre-Construction Notification:  The PCN must be in writing and include the following information:

(1) Name, address and telephone numbers of the prospective permittee;

(2) Location of the proposed project;

(3) A description of the proposed project; the project’s purpose; direct and indirect adverse environmental effects the project would cause, including the anticipated amount of loss of water of the United States expected to result from the NWP activity, in acres, linear feet, or other appropriate unit of measure; any other NWP(s), regional general permit(s), or individual permit(s) used or intended to be used to authorize any part of the proposed project or any related activity. The description should be sufficiently detailed to allow the district engineer to determine that the adverse effects of the project will be minimal and to determine the need for compensatory mitigation.  Sketches should be provided when necessary to show that the activity complies with the terms of the NWP. (Sketches usually clarify the project and when provided results in a quicker decision. Sketches should contain sufficient detail to provide an illustrative description of the proposed activity (e.g., a conceptual plan), but do not need to be detailed engineering plans);

(4) The PCN must include a delineation of wetlands, other special aquatic sites, and other  waters, such as lakes and ponds, and perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral streams, on the project site. Wetland delineations must be prepared in accordance with the current method required by the Corps. The permittee may ask the Corps to delineate the special aquatic sites and other waters on the project site, but there may be a delay if the Corps does the delineation, especially if the project site is large or contains many waters of the United States. Furthermore, the 45 day period will not start until the delineation has been submitted to or completed by the Corps, as appropriate;

(5) If the proposed activity will result in the loss of greater than 1/10-acre of wetlands and a PCN is required, the prospective permittee must submit a statement describing how the mitigation requirement will be satisfied, or explaining why the adverse effects are minimal and why compensatory mitigation should not be required. As an alternative, the prospective permittee may submit a conceptual or detailed mitigation plan.

(6) If any listed species or designated critical habitat might be affected or is in the vicinity of the project, or if the project is located in designated critical habitat, for non-Federal applicants the PCN must include the name(s) of those endangered or threatened species that might be affected by the proposed work or utilize the designated critical habitat that may be affected by the proposed work. Federal applicants must provide documentation demonstrating compliance with the Endangered Species Act; and

(7) For an activity that may affect a historic property listed on, determined to be eligible for listing on, or potentially eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places, for non-Federal applicants the PCN must state which historic property may be affected by the proposed work or include a vicinity map indicating the location of the historic property. Federal applicants must provide documentation demonstrating compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

(c) Form of Pre-Construction Notification: The standard individual permit application form (Form ENG 4345) may be used, but the completed application form must clearly indicate that it is a PCN and must include all of the information required in paragraphs (b)(1) through (7) of this general condition. A letter containing the required information may also be used.

(d) Agency Coordination:

(1) The district engineer will consider any comments from Federal and state agencies concerning the proposed activity’s compliance with the terms and conditions of the NWPs and the need for mitigation to reduce the project’s adverse environmental effects to a minimal level.

(2) For all NWP activities that require pre-construction notification and result in the loss of greater than 1/2-acre of waters of the United States, for NWP 21, 29, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 50, 51, and 52 activities that require pre-construction notification and will result in the loss of greater than 300 linear feet of intermittent and ephemeral stream bed, and for all NWP 48 activities that require pre-construction notification, the district engineer will immediately provide (e.g., via e-mail, facsimile transmission, overnight mail, or other expeditious manner) a copy of the complete PCN to the appropriate Federal or state offices (U.S. FWS, state natural resource or water quality agency, EPA, State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) or Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO), and, if appropriate, the NMFS). With the exception of NWP 37, these agencies will have 10 calendar days from the date the material is transmitted to telephone or fax the district engineer notice that they intend to provide substantive, site-specific comments. The comments must explain why the agency believes the adverse effects will be more than minimal. If so contacted by an agency, the district engineer will wait an additional 15 calendar days before making a decision on the pre-construction notification. The district engineer will fully consider agency comments received within the specified time frame concerning the proposed activity’s compliance with the terms and conditions of the NWPs, including the need for mitigation to ensure the net adverse environmental effects to the aquatic environment of the proposed activity are minimal. The district engineer will provide no response to the resource agency, except as provided below. The district engineer will indicate in the administrative record associated with each pre-construction notification that the resource agencies’ concerns were considered. For NWP 37, the emergency watershed protection and rehabilitation activity may proceed immediately in cases where there is an unacceptable hazard to life or a significant loss of property or economic hardship will occur. The district engineer will consider any comments received to decide whether the NWP 37 authorization should be modified, suspended, or revoked in accordance with the procedures at 33 CFR 330.5.

(3) In cases of where the prospective permittee is not a Federal agency, the district engineer will provide a response to NMFS within 30 calendar days of receipt of any Essential Fish Habitat conservation recommendations, as required by Section 305(b)(4)(B) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

(4) Applicants are encouraged to provide the Corps with either electronic files or multiple copies of pre-construction notifications to expedite agency coordination.

D. District Engineer’s Decision (From Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 34 / Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012)

(1) In reviewing the PCN for the proposed activity, the district engineer will determine whether the activity authorized by the NWP will result in more than minimal individual or cumulative adverse environmental effects or may be contrary to the public interest.   For a linear project, this determination will include an evaluation of the individual crossings to determine whether they individually satisfy the terms and conditions of the NWP(s), as well as the cumulative effects caused by all of the crossings authorized by NWP. If an applicant requests a waiver of the 300 linear foot limit on impacts to intermittent or ephemeral streams or of an otherwise applicable limit, as provided for in NWPs 13, 21, 29, 36, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 50, 51 or 52, the district engineer will only grant the waiver upon a written determination that the NWP activity will result in minimal adverse effects.  When making minimal effects determinations the district engineer will consider the direct and indirect effects caused by the NWP activity.  The district engineer will also consider site specific factors, such as the environmental setting in the vicinity of the NWP activity, the type of resource that will be affected by the NWP activity, the functions provided by the aquatic resources that will be affected by the NWP activity, the degree or magnitude to which the aquatic resources perform those functions, the extent that aquatic resource functions will be lost as a result of the NWP activity (e.g., partial or complete loss), the duration of the adverse effects (temporary or permanent), the importance of the aquatic resource functions to the region (e.g., watershed or ecoregion), and mitigation required by the district engineer. If an appropriate functional assessment method is available and practicable to use, that assessment method may be used by the district engineer to assist in the minimal adverse effects determination. The district engineer may add case-specific special conditions to the NWP authorization to address site-specific environmental concerns.

(2) If the proposed activity requires a PCN and will result in a loss of greater than 1/10-acre of wetlands, the prospective permittee should submit a mitigation proposal with the PCN. Applicants may also propose compensatory mitigation for projects with smaller impacts. The district engineer will consider any proposed compensatory mitigation the applicant has included in the proposal in determining whether the net adverse environmental effects to the aquatic environment of the proposed activity are minimal. The compensatory mitigation proposal may be either conceptual or detailed. If the district engineer determines that the activity complies with the terms and conditions of the NWP and that the adverse effects on the aquatic environment are minimal, after considering mitigation, the district engineer will notify the permittee and include any activity-specific conditions in the NWP verification the district engineer deems necessary. Conditions for compensatory mitigation requirements must comply with the appropriate provisions at 33 CFR 332.3(k). The district engineer must approve the final mitigation plan before the permittee commences work in waters of the United States, unless the district engineer determines that prior approval of the final mitigation plan is not practicable or not necessary to ensure timely completion of the required compensatory mitigation. If the prospective permittee elects to submit a compensatory mitigation plan with the PCN, the district engineer will expeditiously review the proposed compensatory mitigation plan. The district engineer must review the proposed compensatory mitigation plan within 45 calendar days of receiving a complete PCN and determine whether the proposed mitigation would ensure no more than minimal adverse effects on the aquatic environment. If the net adverse effects of the project on the aquatic environment (after consideration of the compensatory mitigation proposal) are determined by the district engineer to be minimal, the district engineer will provide a timely written response to the applicant. The response will state that the project can proceed under the terms and conditions of the NWP, including any activity-specific conditions added to the NWP authorization by the district engineer.

(3) If the district engineer determines that the adverse effects of the proposed work are more than minimal, then the district engineer will notify the applicant either: (a) That the project does not qualify for authorization under the NWP and instruct the applicant on the procedures to seek authorization under an individual permit; (b) that the project is authorized under the NWP subject to the applicant’s submission of a mitigation plan that would reduce the adverse effects on the aquatic environment to the minimal level; or (c) that the project is authorized under the NWP with specific modifications or conditions. Where the district engineer determines that mitigation is required to ensure no more than minimal adverse effects occur to the aquatic environment, the activity will be authorized within the 45-day PCN period, with activity-specific conditions that state the mitigation requirements. The authorization will include the necessary conceptual or detailed mitigation or a requirement that the applicant submit a mitigation plan that would reduce the adverse effects on the aquatic environment to the minimal level. When mitigation is required, no work in waters of the United States may occur until the district engineer has approved a specific mitigation plan or has determined that prior approval of a final mitigation plan is not practicable or not necessary to ensure timely completion of the required compensatory mitigation.