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Permitting Process

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RGP-002-MN final action for Minnesota
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE RGP-002-MN (2012-00291-BRC)
Type: Sec-404 Clean Water Act; Sec-10 Rivers and Harbors Act
Issued: 7 August 2013
Expires: 6 August 2018


RGP-003-MN final action for Minnesota
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE RGP-003-MN 2011002988PN
Type: Sec-404 Clean Water Act; Sec-10 Rivers and Harbors Act
Issued: 08 August 2013
Expires: 31 January 2017


LOP-05-MN final action for Minnesota
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE
Type: Section 404 Letter of Permission Procedures for MN.
Issued: 31 July 2006



GP-002-WI final action for Wisconsin
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE (pdf)
Statewide Regional General Permit for specific activities.
Issued: June 1, 2011
GP-003-WI final action for Wisconsin 
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE (pdf)
Statewide Regional General Permit for specific activities except within the exterior boundaries of federally recognized Indian Reservations.
Issued: January 9, 2013
GP-004-WI final action for Wisconsin
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE (pdf)
Statewide Regional General Permit for specific activities except within the exterior boundaries of federally recognized Indian Reservations.
Issued: January 9, 2013
LOP-06-WI final action for Wisconsin
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE (pdf)
Section 404 LOP Procedures for WI.
Issued: April 17, 2006
GP-014-WI final action for Wisconsin
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE (pdf)
Cranberry marsh operations established Prior to 31 December 2004.
Issued: December 10, 2008.

GP-10-R final action
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE (pdf)
For use within the exterior boundaries of Indian Reservations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, except The Mole Lake Band of Sokaogon Chippewa and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservations.
Issued: June 18, 2010
LOP-10-R final action
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE
(pdf)
For use within the exterior boundaries of Indian Reservations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, except The Mole Lake Band of Sokaogon Chippewa and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservations.
Issued: August 30, 2010
LOP-10-FDL final action
FINAL PERMIT AND PUBLIC NOTICE (pdf)
Applicable within the exterior boundaries of the Fond du Lac reservation located in Carlton and St. Louis counties, Minnesota
Issued: October 5, 2010
Section 10 NWPs (pdf)
Issued: March 19, 2012
Regional Condition for NWP 52 (pdf)
Water-Based Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Projects

Regulatory Frequently Asked Questions

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A. Select a project site or design that can support the project purpose without the need to alter wetland or water areas. If that is not practical, then you should enhance your chances of receiving a favorable interagency review and a permit by designing the project so that water and wetland impacts are avoided, minimized, and then compensated for, in that order and to the maximum extent practical.

Completely avoiding water and wetland areas will eliminate the need for a 404 permit. Minimizing wetland impacts will reduce the amount of wetlands that may need to be created or restored in order to satisfy compensatory mitigation requirements of state or Corps' permits.

A. More information about the Corps' regulatory program is available from any Corps' regulatory office and the St. Paul District's regulatory web page. General permits, public notices, staff contact information and links to the Corps' Headquarters and state and other Web pages and wetland brochures can be accessed via the District's regulatory web page at the link below.
A. Corps involvement in regulating more than just the traditionally navigable waters of the nation began in 1972, when Congress passed the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. This Act was amended in 1977 and became the Clean Water Act. Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act the Corps regulates all "waters of the U.S." which include jurisdictional wetlands, ponds, streams and lakes, including those on private land.
A. Your best first step is generally to contact the Corps' project manager for the county the project is in as early as possible in the project planning process. You can find out who to contact by consulting the project manager listings on the St. Paul District's regulatory web page at www.mvp.usace.army.mil/regulatory (link below) or you can call the Corps' regulatory field office nearest your project site at the location and number you can find on the Web page.

A. Follow the contact information under the "How do I get a Corps' permit," question above.
A. If the activity is regulated by the Corps under Section 10 or Section 404, the answer is yes. However, the St. Paul District has implemented abbreviated permitting procedures for many activities that also require state permits. But unless the activity is authorized under a Corps' non-reporting general permit, you still need to apply to and receive written authorization from the Corps.

A. Ask the property owner to show you a letter from the Corps, dated within the preceding five years, about Corps' jurisdiction over the property. If there is no such letter, ask the owner to get one. In any case, you should certainly find out if there are any wetlands on the property before you buy it or commit any substantial irretrievable resources toward its purchase.

Some wetlands can look dry most or all of the year and never have standing water. Other wetlands may appear forested and contain aspen, alder, willows or other trees or shrubs. Such wetlands require identification by experts. If there are wetlands on the property you may need federal and/or state or local permits to implement your plans for the property, and there is no assurance such permits would be issued. Buyers should beware!

Local soil and water, DNR, or Corps offices may be contacted about whether a property contains wetlands and may suggest hiring a professional consultant to delineate any wetlands on the property using the Corps' 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual.

In any event, if there is any doubt whatsoever about the presence of wetlands, a written determination from the Corps concerning federal jurisdiction over the property should be obtained. In some cases, persons have applied for and received Corps' permits concerning property before buying it, or have entered purchase agreements contingent upon receiving a Corps' permit.


A. Under Section 10, a Corps' permit is required to do any work in, over or under a Navigable Water of the U.S. (these are generally called the "Section 10 waters") or to do any work that affects the course, location or condition of the waterbody in such a manner as to impact on its navigable capacity. Waterbodies have been designated as Section 10 waters based on their past, present or potential use for transportation for interstate commerce. These waters include many of the larger rivers and lakes, such as the Minnesota, St. Croix, Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers along with Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and the Mississippi headwaters and many other rivers and lakes.

Activities such as dredging and construction of docks, bulkheads and utility lines require review under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 to ensure that they will not cause an obstruction to navigation and are not contrary to the public interest.

Under Section 404, a Corps' permit is required for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S., which include wetlands. Regulated discharges include filling wetlands for development, grading or pushing material around within a wetland, disturbing wetland soil during land clearing, etc. The general rule is that for an activity to receive a 404 permit it must comply with the EPA's Section 404(b)(1) guidelines.
In general, the guidelines require that the activity be the least environmentally damaging alternative that is feasible, and that adverse impacts are avoided, then minimized, and then compensated for (such as creating or restoring wetlands to replace those that would be filled). Activities also must not be contrary to the public interest, as determined by the Corps.

Certain discharges for some farm, forestry, maintenance and other purposes are exempt from Section 404 regulation. Exempt discharges must be for defined purposes and must satisfy certain conditions. You should obtain confirmation from the Corps to avoid a potential violation of Federal law before conducting any discharge you believe is exempt.

A. On January 9, 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. United States Army Corps of Engineers. In summary, the decision held that the Corps' 404 jurisdiction does not extend to isolated wetlands (not connected to any other water of the U.S.) whose only connection to interstate commerce is the potential to be used by migratory birds.

Because wetlands that at first appear isolated on maps may have hard-to-find connections to other waters or ties to interstate commerce other than migratory birds, the Corps should be contacted concerning whether or not a wetland in question is subject to Section 404 jurisdiction.

In January, 2003, the Corps and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Clean Water Act Regulatory Definition of "Waters of the United States." Therefore, this situation may change at some time in the future.

Developments will be described on the Corps' Headquarters web page that may be reached via the District's web page by clicking on USEFUL LINKS. The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and other information is available on the Headquarters web page.
A. The St. Paul District uses several types of permits:

There is a non-reporting general permit authorization for some minor activities that does not require applying or reporting to the Corps. Persons only need to carefully review the permit to make sure that all terms and conditions of the permit will be met. If requested, the district will confirm whether or not the non-reporting general permit applies to proposed work.

There are other general permits that can apply if the proposed work also requires authorization from the State Department of Natural Resources, or under the Minnesota Wetland's Conservation Act. These generally require submitting a copy of the state application to the Corps, and then receiving both a Corps' letter and a state permit that authorize the project. The district uses the Section 10, but not the Section 404, nationwide permits in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The district also has implemented abbreviated letter-of-permission authorization procedures for many projects that are not eligible for general permits. These also require applying to and receiving written authorization from the Corps.
Regulated work under either Section 10 or Section 404 that is not covered by general permit or LOP procedures requires authorization under the Corps' standard individual permit process.

Some general permits can be confirmed or issued in a day, while other general permits and LOPs may require a 30-day agency and public review process depending on the nature and location of the project and will take 45 days or more. Standard individual permits typically require a 30-day agency and public review and take 60 to 120 days or more.

There is no fee for general permits or LOPs. For standard individual permits there is a permit issuance fee of $10 for non-commercial projects and $100 for commercial projects. The Corps will request the fee when due. Public entities are exempt from fees.

A. Performing unauthorized work in waters of the United States is a violation of Federal law with potentially stiff penalties including fines and/or requirements to restore the area and/or imprisonment. Enforcement is an important part of the Corps' regulatory program. Corps' surveillance and monitoring activities are often aided by various agencies, groups, and individuals who report suspected violations.

When in doubt as to whether a permit is needed, contact the nearest Corps' regulatory office. Doing so may save a lot of unnecessary trouble later. Failure to comply with the terms of an issued permit may also carry heavy penalties.

Contact Regulatory

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District - Regulatory
180 5th St. East
Suite 700
St. Paul MN 55101

Tel: (651) 290-5525
800-290-5847 ext. 5525 
mvp-reg-inquiry@usace.army.mil

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