Post-Flood Permitting - CO

Published April 6, 2016

Under section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers understands that during a flood emergency and times of imminent danger landowners may decide to do what they determine is necessary to protect their property. Where possible, it is imperative for the public to contact the USACE, Denver Regulatory Office (303) 979-4120 for work in waters of the U.S. associated with flood protection and repair work performed in waters of the U.S. for flood damaged areas within the State of Colorado and the Omaha District. A flood emergency does not remove the landowner's responsibility to obtain a Section 404 permit if a permit is required. 

Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the USACE regulates fill material placed below the Ordinary High Watermark (OHWM) within waters of the U.S. and may regulate the removal of fill material. The OHWM is the line on the shore/bank/waterway established by the fluctuations of water and indicated by physical characteristics.  Fill placed in upland areas (areas above the OHWM) is not typically regulated under the Clean Water Act. It is the landowner’s responsibility to contact the Corps to determine if a flood-related activity lies within the USACE regulatory jurisdiction.

The District Engineer for the Omaha District has developed a Regional General Permit 96-07 (GP 96-07), authorizing certain flood-related fill or excavation activities, other work associated with flood protection, and repair work for flood-damaged areas performed in waters of the U.S. within the State of Colorado. 

Waters of the U.S. include, but are not limited to, rivers, lakes, ponds, creeks, gulches and wetland areas. This RGP may apply to localized or widespread flood events and includes, but is not limited to, the following activities:

  • Repair and reconstruction of existing roads
  • Temporary levee construction and repair
  • Bridge embankment repair
  • Protection and/or repair of utility structures
  • Bank protection/stabilization
  • Protection and restoration of intake structures.

Fill and excavation impacts authorized by this RGP will be limited to the minimum necessary for the project. The maximum limits are as follows:

  1. One (1) acre of impacts to non-wetland jurisdictional areas.
  2. 1/3 acre of impacts to wetlands.
  3. Up to one (1) acre of wetlands impacts if, with consultation with other federal and state agencies, the USACE determines the adverse environmental impacts are minimal. This one-acre limit is evaluated prior to considering mitigation.
  4. After combining all impacts to waters of the U.S., including wetlands, the total of all impacts to waters of the U.S. will not exceed one (1) acre, for each flood-related activity.

Proposed wetland fill or drainage activities authorized by this permit may require mitigation. Mitigation plans will be developed by the applicant, approved by USACE, and coordinated with the applicable resource agencies on a case-by-case basis. In urgent situations, approval of mitigation plans by USACE may be subsequent to the approval of the requested work, since sufficient time may not be available to approve mitigation before the work must take place.

To request authorization of work under GP 96-07, contact the Denver Regulatory office for a determination that the proposed work is necessitated by flood conditions and meets the GP-96-07 criteria. 

Information required will be:

a.   Your name, address, and telephone number and the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the affected land.

b.   A written description of the proposed work including:

  • the purpose and need
  • type, composition, and quantity of material to be excavated or placed (including temporary material used for cofferdams, etc.)
  • length, width, and depth of fill area and/or excavation area
  • a discussion of the direct and indirect adverse environmental effects of the activity
  • location of disposal site for excavated material
  • type of equipment to be used
  • identification/delineation of wetlands
  • the receiving site for excess water (drainage projects)
  • any other pertinent, supporting data.

c.   A location map indicating the location of the proposed work and a legal description (section, township, range and county, and latitude and longitude).

d.   A set of 8.5 by 11-inch drawings showing the details of the proposed work (plan and cross sectional views showing elevations and dimensions).

e.   If applicable, a compensatory mitigation plan for proposed wetland fill or drainage activities.

f.    A written statement that you agree to abide by the terms and conditions of this permits.

g.   A written statement certifying that the authorized work has been completed in accordance with this permit must be submitted to the USACE following completion of the project. Photographs, taken from the same locations before the work is begun and after the work is completed, must be included.

The information submitted must clearly describe the project so that the USACE can determine whether or not the work complies with the terms, conditions, and limitations of this RGP. The project may not proceed until notification approval has been received from the Corps that the proposed work meets the RGP criteria.

EMERGENCY AUTHORIZATION PROCEDURES:  More extensive flood repair work which exceeds the (GP 96-07) limits may be authorized under emergency authorization procedures when there is an unacceptable hazard to life, significant loss of property and/or an immediate, unforeseen, and significant economic hardship if corrective action requiring a permit is not undertaken within a time period less than the normal time needed to process an application under standard procedures.

The following are the procedures to process a request for an emergency authorization:

1.  Project proponents should e-mail or personally deliver to the Denver Regulatory Field Office information which details the proposed work, location map and a narrative description of what needs to be done, how soon, and how the situation occurred. 

2.  The Denver Regulatory Office will coordinate the emergency response with the Omaha District Regulatory Office, Northwestern Division Office, and other resources agencies. 

If you have questions or would like assistance in determining if a permit is required for any flood-related activities, please contact the appropriate USACE Regulatory Office from the list of contacts, below.


  • Denver Regulatory State Field Office (303) 979-4120
  • Omaha District, Regulatory Branch (402) 995-2451