DECATUR, Ala. (Aug. 1, 2014) – The Nashville District’s Western Regulatory Field Office relocated this week to a new location in Decatur, Ala. Its staff assists with processing permits pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act in the Tennessee River Basin from Nickajack Dam to Kentucky Dam.
David Monroe, Western Regulatory Field Office manager, said the staff is now providing customer service in a new office space within the Danville Road Medical Complex located in Suite “N” at 2424 Danville Road Southwest. The phone number, 256-350-5620, fax number, 256-350-5499, and e-mail contacts remain the same.
Monroe said the office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and works in the public interest for both the protection and utilization of water resources. The office receives a lot of inquiries, requests for information, and general questions about the regulatory program, and the staff is available to assist customers through the process, he added.
The Western Regulatory Field Office is conveniently located in North Alabama where customers in the Tennessee River watershed can be helped by the knowledgeable and professional staff.
Eric Sinclair, regulatory project manager, said he mostly reviews and processes regulatory permits, but also enjoys going out into the field for site visits and interacting with both commercial and private interests that need assistance. Once a permit is issued, he works to ensure permit actions remain in compliance.
The regulatory staff routinely receives calls about private property issues that the Corps may not have jurisdiction over, so the regulatory specialists will usually try to determine if a proposed activity is in an area that is a jurisdictional “water of the U.S.,” and if the activity requires a permit or other regulatory action.
“A lot of the work that we get of course is from industrial or commercial applicants or other governmental agencies that know the regulatory program and know they need a permit,” Sinclair said. “A lot of calls we get are from engineers or consultants that again are working for businesses that are developing construction sites.”
The office also processes permit applications from private interests for activities such as boat docks and stream bank stabilization projects, and coordinates with agencies like the Tennessee Valley Authority on permit actions at their projects and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on issues involving endangered species.
Gary Davis, regulatory project manager, said private interests aren’t always familiar with the permit process, so it’s natural that they ask more questions. He added that anytime an activity involves a wetland it’s important that the business or private interest contact the Corps of Engineers before disturbing the area to seek a permit and avoid possible enforcement actions.
Davis processes a lot of permit applications and said he often works to find solutions that are good for both the applicant and the environment, and he tries to be respectful and spend as much time that is necessary to explain requirements to customers.
“I just pretty much walk everybody through the application process,” Davis said.
Marla Marshall, the office’s administrative assistant, focuses on the office’s business functions, but also supports regulatory processes and answers a lot of the phone calls. Helping customers with their needs is great, she said, because it involves helping the environment.
“I like the fact that it is Earth related,” Marshall said about her job. “Being an outdoors person I enjoy that aspect of it. This office has done a wonderful job of taking care of North Alabama as far as the wetlands and then anything else that is going into the Tennessee River.”
Marshall said she does her best to help the public and, at the same time, the water. She said she tries to point people in the right direction when the Corps is not the agency that they need to contact.
“For the most part everyone is so grateful to be given some direction to go in, if we’re not the ones who can help them,” she said.
For more regulatory resources, go to http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory.aspx.
Directions to Western Regulatory Field Office from Interstate 65: Take U.S. 72 Alternate/Alabama 20 to Wilson Street for 4.7 miles. Turn right on Wilson Street and proceed 3.4 miles to Beltline Road (Alabama 67). Turn left and take Beltline Road for 3.5 miles and then turn left onto Danville Road. The office is located about a half mile on the left. Danville Park Shell gas station is on the right and the office building is in the back of the complex on the left.
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