Army Corps Releases Wetlands Replacement Permits

Army Corps Releases Wetlands Replacement Permits

By Ami Grace, Clean Water Network

The Army Corps of Engineers released the final replacement permits for NWP 26 on March 9th. In December of 1996, under pressure from environmental groups and the Administration, the Corps decided to replace the most destructive wetlands permit of the bunch—NWP 26. After three years of comment from environmental groups (comments from CWN members and others added up to more comments than the Corps has ever received on any proposal!), home builders, and other interest groups. You can find them by going to the Federal Register web site at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html and searching by March 9th and ‘wetland’. The new permits only allow wetlands destruction of up to one-half acre for any activity and provides significant protection of wetlands in the 100-year floodplain. This is a step forward from the three acre threshold. Additionally, the Corps must be notified if any activity is to destroy more than 1/10 of an acre, reduced from the previous 1/3 acre standard.

This progress is thanks to many, but not the least of which are the Clean Water Network members who have worked tirelessly for 3 years to comment and put pressure on the Administration and the Corps to get rid of the damaging NWP 26.

Next Steps:

The next very important step will be starting up the State Certification process. States have 90 days after the new permits are released to certify, deny, or place conditions on the new replacement permits. This is when the rubber really hits the road for wetlands protection in your state! By June 7, NWP 26 should be ended.

The Clean Water Network is starting their state certification campaign to help ensure the best nationwide permits possible. If you are working on the state certification process, please contact Ami Grace at CWN (202-289-2421) so we can link activists within the same state and help make your efforts most effective. We have a number of tools for those activists taking part in this campaign including:

 

  • A “how-to” fact sheet provided by National Audubon and printed in last month’s SR
  • List of 401 state agency wetlands contacts
  • List of states declared flood disaster areas by FEMA over the past 12 years (this list may be useful when petitioning your state not to allow wetlands destruction in floodplain areas that were once declared flood disaster areas).
  • List of state by state 401 Water Quality Certification by Nationwide Permit Number

These tools are available by contacting Ami at 202-289-2421 or agrace@nrdc.org.

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