Electronic Permit Guidebook

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Permit Processing Procedures

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 i.  Processing Times
    After receipt of a complete application, it is our goal to process permit applications within the following timeframes: 

    Regional General Permits: 60 days 
    Nationwide Permits: 60 days 
    Letters of Permission: 120 days 
    Standard Individual Permits: 120 days 

    Applications may have a much longer review time for the following reasons:
  • Incomplete applications
  • Changes to the proposed project
  • Endangered Species
  • Cultural/Historic Properties Surveys and Consultations under the National Historic Preservation Act
  • Water Quality Certification
  • Tribal Trust Responsibilities
  • Substantial Public Opposition
  • Court decisions which alter current case law
 ii.  Fees
No fee for:
    Jurisdictional Determinations, Regional General Permits, Nationwide Permits, Letters of Permission, Exemption Letters, and Permit Modifications.

Fees for Standard Individual Permits:
    $10.00 for non-commercial projects; $100.00 for commercial and industrial projects.

No fee is required for Federal, state, or local government agencies.

 iii.  Helpful Hints For the Permit Process
  1. Plan for the permitting process to take time. Processing time for individual permits ranges from 6 to 12 months, or longer depending on the complexity of the project. Plan the hiring of consultants and contractors accordingly. Do not start work until Corps approval has been received. Watch for conflicts in timing restrictions of other local, State or Federal permits.
  2. Submit complete, detailed, and thorough information regarding the project. Processing time cannot begin until the Corps receives complete application information, including proper drawings. Drawings must be detailed enough to allow a compliance inspector to locate the project (detailed vicinity map) and easily determine and verify dimensions and position of the project.
  3. In addition to submittal of hard copies, if available, please submit electronic versions of permit application materials, such as the JARPA, Biological Assessment/Evaluation, Wetland Delineation, Mitigation Plan, and drawings on a CD or DVD.  This will facilitate our permit review process.  Please do not email the electronic files as our email system cannot handle numerous large files.
  4. Apply for or obtain as many of the appropriate permits from other agencies. Processing time can be delayed because the Corps usually cannot make a final decision on issuance of the Department of the Army permit if a local or State permit is pending. Other permits typically required could include: Shorelines permit from the local government, Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) from the Washington State Departments of Fisheries or Wildlife, Water Quality Certification and Coastal Zone Management Consistency (CZM) from the Washington State Department of Ecology, and leasing rights of bottom lands from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
  5. Minimize the impact on the aquatic environment. Document your efforts in the process. For example, do you really need to develop 5 acres of wetlands? Instead, is it feasible to develop 1 to 2 acres of wetlands and 3 to 4 acres of uplands? Do you have to develop wetlands, would your project succeed if you developed 5 acres of uplands? Does your boat ramp have to be 50 feet wide? Can you use other materials besides pouring concrete onto the beach (possibly destroying fish habitat)? We will ask these types of questions in order to determine if the proposed project has the least possible impact on the aquatic environment.
  6. Provide detailed information regarding the existing environmental conditions, particularly in regards to threatened and endangered species. Because of the listing of several fish species as threatened and endangered, the Corps must address any potential impacts a project may have on fish, their habitat, and other threatened and endangered species (includes fish, wildlife, insects, and plants). This endangered species act coordination is required for all permit actions, including nationwide and regional permits. As part of this coordination, an environmental document (Biological Evaluation) may need to be prepared which describes potential impacts to these species.
  7. For helpful tips when planning your project and filling out the JARPA application, please also refer to the Governor's Office of Regulatory Assistance with Environmental Permitting Webpage (ORA).
  8. ORA's online Project Questionnaire can help you determine which other Federal, state, or local permits, licenses, or approvals may be required.



 iv.  Complete Application
     a.  Permit Application Form (Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application)
     b.  Supplemental Information


Information on impacts to species listed under the Endangered Species Act:  This type of documentation is called a Biological Evaluation (BE) or Biological Assessment (BA).  These documents are typically prepared by a professional biologist.  

  • Information on impacts to cultural resources or historic properties:  Before we can make a permit decision, we must ensure the project meets the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act.  For projects in cultural sensitive areas, we will likely require the submittal of a Cultural Resources and Historic Properties Survey.  
  • Documentation of Mitigation Sequencing:  As part of our permit decision making process we must ensure that you have completed the appropriate mitigation sequencing.  The first step is Avoidance.  You must document how you have avoided impacts to waters of the U.S.  The second step is Minimization.  If there is no alternative but to impact waters of the U.S., you must document how you have minimized impacts to waters of the U.S.  The final step is Compensatory Mitigation.  After you have minimized impacts to waters of the U.S., you must compensate for the loss of waters of the U.S.  This involves the development of a Compensatory Mitigation Plan which describes how you will compensate for impacts through the establishment, re-establishment, enhancement, or preservation of waters of the U.S.  
     c.  Project Drawings
Complete drawings help to expedite the review of your permit application. Please utilize this Drawing Checklist to ensure your drawings have all of the information we need. Here is also a link to Sample Drawings to help you prepare your drawings.
 v.  Permit Compliance
In order to ensure the integrity of the Regulatory Program, we inspect issued permits to ensure compliance with all permit drawings and conditions. Work must be constructed in strict compliance with all permit drawings and conditions or the work will be in non-compliance in violation of Federal law. Any modifications or revisions to authorized work must be coordinated with and approved by the Corps before the work can occur. Penalties for permit non-compliance include Administrative Penalties (up to $27,500 per violation), legal action and/or permit suspension, modification or revocation.