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Natural Environment

SUBJECT: INFORMATION: Section 404 Nationwide Permits

FROM: James Shrouds, Director, Office of Natural and Human Environment

TO: Attention: Environmental Staff

DATE: February 7, 2002

The purpose of this message is to provide notice and information on the newly reissued Nationwide Section 404 permits.

On January 15, the Corps of Engineers (COE) published in the Federal Register a final notice of changes to the current Section 404 Nationwide Permit (NWP) program. The permits become effective on March 18, 2002. Along with revised permits, the COE also modified the list of general permit conditions. The conditions impose required actions that an applicant must fulfill to use a nationwide permit, such as mitigation measures and requirements to notify the local COE District office with project information.

In general, there were very few changes in the program that affect the permits most commonly used by State departments of transportation (DOTs). There were slight changes to NWP 14 for Linear Transportation Facilities and to NWP 27 for Wetland and Riparian Restoration and Creation. Significantly, the COE did not revise NWP 3 for Maintenance. Nor did the COE alter NWP 23 for Categorically Excluded actions. The most significant changes to the conditions affecting permits used by DOTs were made to Condition #9 concerning water quality, Condition # 13 on notifying the COE, Condition #19 on mitigation, and on Condition #26 on fills within designated floodplains. Detailed descriptions of the changes to these permits and permit conditions are in the attached file.

In conjunction with these NWPs, the COE will also work closely with States to develop and use specific regional general permits that can streamline the transportation project permitting process.