Individual Permit Review Process

Projects which exceed the limits and thresholds of NWP's generally require an Individual Permit.  The review of applications for Individual Permits is more intense and therefore requires additional detail on the proposed projects design, scope, and construction method.

Public Notice. Individual applications are evaluated through a series of steps beginning with the release of a public notice. This notice is issued within 15-days after a complete application is received.  Once published, the public interest review typically lasts 30-days.

Applicant Participation. Applicants are provided an opportunity to respond to comments received as a result of the public notice. In some cases, the applicant's response on the issues raised during this process is a necessary element in the district engineer's review of an application.

State and Local Requirements. In most cases, a state water quality certification for discharges is required. A state denial of water quality certification will, by Federal regulation, result in the denial of a Corps permit. In some cases, the applicant may be allowed to reactivate the Corps application if the water quality certification is granted in the future.

Alternatives and Impact Mitigation. The Individual Permit review process will sometimes reveal an alternative project design that creates less impact to the aquatic environment.  This determination may require a change to the projects design, scope, or construction method.  However, if the original request is determined to be the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative, any impacts to the aquatic environment, which cannot be avoided or minimized, will require compensatory mitigation.

Permit Decision. Following completion of the public interest review, the district engineer will make the decision to issue or deny a permit to the applicant. This decision will be documented with a statement of findings, an environmental assessment, and where Section 404 is involved, with a Section 404(b)(1) guidelines (PDF) assessment.

Permit Issuance. Permits are considered to have been issued once they are signed by the authorized Corps official. Permit fees of $100 (commercial) or $10 (non-commercial) are now required for issued permits.

Processing Time. Most individual permits are evaluated within 60 to 90-days receipt of a complete application.

Alternate Forms of Permits

A Letter of Permission may be used when the work is considered minor, does not have significant individual or cumulative impacts on environmental values, and should encounter no appreciable opposition. In such situations, the project is coordinated, generally by telephone, with appropriate Federal and state resource agencies.

Another form of alternate authorization is the General Permit. General Permits are used to authorize a specific activity. The activity or activities covered by general permits are substantially similar in nature and cause only minimal individual and cumulative environmental impacts. Another purpose for the use of a general permit is to avoid unnecessary duplication of the regulatory control exercised by another Federal agency. In many cases, activities covered by this authorization may proceed without further review by the Corps.