Regulatory Division

Fixed and Floating Docks along the Tennessee River at Mile 65.7,

The Department of the Army Regulatory Program is one of the oldest in the Federal Government. Initially it served a fairly simple, straightforward purpose: to protect and maintain the navigable capacity of the nation's waters. Time, changing public needs, evolving policy, case law, and new statutory mandates have changed the complexion of the program, adding to its breadth, complexity, and authority.

The Regulatory Program is committed to protecting the Nation's aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions. The Corps evaluates permit applications for essentially all work that occurs in “waters of the United States” that are regulated by the Corps pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Some examples of areas that may be within the jurisdiction of the Corps include marshes, swamps, streams, creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, seasonally saturated forested and non-forested wetlands.

All regulated activities occurring within jurisdictional areas require a permit from the Corps. Some example activities occurring within jurisdictional areas that require a permit include dredging of waterways, bank stabilization, recreational ponds and lakes, as well as the construction of fixed docks/boat slips, floating docks/boat slips, marinas, fleeting areas, boat ramps, roads, transportation crossings, residential and commercial developments, utility lines, and mining activities.

In order to determine whether your proposed activity requires a permit, or whether any “waters of the U.S.” are located on your property or within your project area, please explore our website or contact us for further guidance. Please note that the Nashville District Corps of Engineers will make the final determination of whether an area is a jurisdictional “water of the U.S.” and whether the activity requires a permit.

The Nashville District covers portions of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia. We are dedicated to providing strong protection of the Nation's aquatic resources, including wetlands, to enhance the efficiency of the Corps regulatory program, and ensure that the Corps provides fair, reasonable, and timely decisions to our customers.

Announcements

Draft Changes to the National Wetland Plant List

24 March 2021 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), as part of an
interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is announcing the
availability of the draft changes to the 2020 NWPL and its web address to
solicit public comments.  The public now has the opportunity to comment on
the proposed changes to wetland indicator status ratings for five plant
species in select regions and the addition of 22 new plant species to the
NWPL.  The Federal Register Notice (FRN) for the 2020 NWPL update can be
found here:
public comment period ends on 24 May 2021.
 
 
 
The 27 species and their draft 2020 wetland ratings by region, as well as
the FRN, can be viewed at the NWPL homepage,
http://wetland-plants.usace.army.mil/, under "2020 NWPL Update Information."
A link to provide general or species-specific comments is also available at
this location. Users are encouraged to submit literature citations, herbaria
records, experiential references, monitoring data, and other relevant
information.  Specific knowledge of, or studies related to, individual
species are particularly helpful.  Commenters should use their regional
botanical and ecological expertise, field observations, reviews of the most
recent indicator status information, appropriate botanical literature,
floras, herbarium specimens with notation of habitat and associated species,
habit data, relevant studies, and historic list information.  Providing
ratings without supporting documentation or information is not recommended.
All submitted comments and information will be compiled and sent to the
National Panel for their consideration.
 
 
USACE is also seeking comments regarding the administrative change to the
South Pacific Islands subregion and the NWPL update process.  Detailed
information on the update process, protocol, and technical issues can be
found in the following documents (available on the "NWPL Publications" web
page referenced above):
 
1.            Lichvar, Robert W. and Minkin, Paul. Concepts and Procedures for
Updating the National Wetland Plant List. Sept 2008. ERDC/CRREL TN-08-3
 
2.            Lichvar, Robert W. and Gillrich, Jennifer J. Final Protocol for
Assigning Wetland Indicator Status Ratings during National Wetland Plant
List Update. Sept 2011. ERDC/CRREL TN-11-1
 
USACE administers the NWPL for the United States and its territories.  The
NWPL provides plant species indicator status ratings, which are used in
determining whether the hydrophytic vegetation factor is met when conducting
wetland delineations under the Clean Water Act and wetland determinations
under the Wetland Conservation Provisions of the Food Security Act. Other
applications of the NWPL include wetland restoration, establishment, and
enhancement projects.  Additions or deletions to the NWPL represent new
records, range extensions, nomenclatural and taxonomic changes, and newly
proposed species.  The latest review process began in 2020 and included
review by Regional Panels and the National Panel
 

REGULATORY ACTIVITIES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The safety of the Public, the Nashville District Regulatory Division employees, and the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 are our prime concerns. We have implemented the following measures for the duration of the COVID-19 Emergency:

•   While All Regulatory Staff remain on duty processing requests, all of our Regulatory Offices are closed to the public at this time.  These include the Nashville Regulatory Division Office in Nashville, TN; the Western Regulatory Field Office in Decatur, AL; and the Eastern Regulatory Field Office in Lenoir City, TN.

•   During the pandemic, please use the telephone or email to contact Regulatory Division staff.

•   At the present time, in-person meetings are not permitted, and field/site visits are occurring only on a limited basis.  Please contact us directly if you believe your project requires a site visit from the Corps.  Meetings will be held virtually by telephone or over the internet.

•   We are still accepting new applications, mitigation proposals, requests for comment, and jurisdictional determination requests electronically or by US Mail.  Please submit all new to requests to NashvilleRegulatory@usace.army.mil.

•   You may send us files too large for email, up to 8 GB in size, through the DoD SAFE (Secure Access File Exchange) site at https://safe.apps.mil/. Send us an email at NashvilleRegulatory@usace.army.mil to request an access code to use the DoD SAFE site for each set of documents you would like to send us.  Include "drop-off request" in the subject line of the email. Do not send paper copies of documents sent to us electronically.

•   We are continuing to review and process all permit applications, mitigation proposals, and jurisdictional determination requests.  Timeframes for permit decisions and other responses should be unaffected by the pandemic.

There have been no changes in the requirements associated with our authorities under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. We will continue to fully implement the requirements associated with these authorities of this pandemic.

 

Navigable Waters Protection Rule

21 April 2020 - EPA and Army Publish the Navigable Waters Protection Rule The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” was published in the Federal Register. This final rule establishes the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters and provides specific exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated. The final rule will become effective on June 22, 2020. The published version is 93 pages, and the citation is: 85 FR 22250.  The Federal Register notice is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/21/2020-02500/the-navigable-waters-protection-rule-definition-of-waters-of-the-united-states. Additional information about the rule can be found on the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/nwpr.

 

EPA and Army will Implement the "Definition of 'Waters of the United States' - Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules"

23 December 2019 - Effective December 23, 2019 the EPA and Army will Implement the "Definition of 'Waters of the United States' - Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules"
The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Army published a final rule to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule (2015 Rule) and re-codify the regulatory text defining "waters of the United States" that existed prior to 2015.  The rule is available on the Federal Register.  The rule is effective on December 23, 2019.  The agencies will implement the pre-2015 Rule regulations informed by applicable agency guidance documents and consistent with Supreme Court decisions and longstanding agency practice.  

 

EPA and Army Publish Rule to Repeal 2015 "Waters of the U.S." Definition

22 October 2019
The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Army have published a rule to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule and re-codify the regulatory text defining "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) that existed prior to 2015.  The rule is available on the Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/10/22/2019-20550/definition-of-waters-of-the-united-states-recodification-of-pre-existing-rules.  The rule will become effective on December 23, 2019.  On this date, the agencies will implement the pre-2015 Rule regulations informed by applicable agency guidance documents and consistent with Supreme Court decisions and longstanding agency practice.  More information can be found at https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.