US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District

General Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program Applicant Information

Authority for the Regulatory Program

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been regulating activities in the nation's waters since 1890. Until the 1960's the primary purpose of the regulatory program was to protect navigation. Since then, as a result of laws and court decisions, the program has been broadened so that it now considers the full public interest for both the protection and utilization of water resources.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been regulating activities in the nation's waters since 1890. Until the 1960's the primary purpose of the regulatory program was to protect navigation. Since then, as a result of laws and court decisions, the program has been broadened so that it now considers the full public interest for both the protection and utilization of water resources.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been regulating activities in the nation's waters since 1890. Until the 1960's the primary purpose of the regulatory program was to protect navigation. Since then, as a result of laws and court decisions, the program has been broadened so that it now considers the full public interest for both the protection and utilization of water resources.

The regulatory authorities and responsibilities of the Corps of Engineers are based on the following laws:

Other laws may also affect the processing of applications for Corps of Engineers permits. Among these are the National Environmental Policy Act, the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Federal Power Act, and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.


Explanation of Some Commonly Used Terms

Certain terms which are closely associated with the regulatory program are explained briefly in this section. If you need more detailed definitions, refer to the Code of Federal Regulations (33 CFR Parts 320 through 330) or contact a Corps district regulatory office.

Activity(ies) as used in this pamphlet includes structures (for example a pier, wharf, bulkhead, or jetty) and work (which includes dredging, disposal of dredged material, filling, excavation or other modification of a navigable water of the United States).

Navigable Waters of the United States are those waters of the United States that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide shoreward to the mean high water mark and/or are presently used, or have been used in the past or may be susceptible to use to transport interstate or foreign commerce. These are waters that are navigable in the traditional sense where permits are required for certain activities pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. This term should not be confused with the term waters of the United States below.

Waters of the United States is a broader term than navigable waters of the United States defined above. Included are adjacent wetlands and tributaries to navigable waters of the United States and other waters where the degradation or destruction of which could affect interstate or foreign commerce. These are the waters where permits are required for the discharge of dredged or fill material pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Pre-application Consultation is one or more meetings between members of the district engineer's staff and an applicant and his agent or his consultant. A pre-application consultation is usually related to applications for major activities and may involve discussion of alternatives, environmental documents, National Environmental Policy Act procedures, and development of the scope of the data required when an environmental impact statement is required.

Public Hearings may be held to acquire information and give the public the opportunity to present views and opinions. The Corps may hold a hearing or participate in joint public hearings with other Federal or state agencies. The district engineer may specify in the public notice that a hearing will be held. In addition, any person may request in writing during the comment period that a hearing be held. Specific reasons must be given as to the need for a hearing. The district engineer may attempt to resolve the issue informally or he may set the date for a public hearing. Hearings are held at times and places that are convenient for the interested public. Very few applications involve a public hearing.

The Public Interest Review is the term which refers to the evaluation of a proposed activity to determine probable impacts. Expected benefits are balanced against reasonably forseeable detriments. All relevant factors are weighed. Corps policy is to provide applicants with a timely and carefully weighed decision which reflects the public interest.

Public Notice is the primary method of advising interested public agencies and private parties of the proposed activity and of soliciting comments and information necessary to evaluate the probable impact on the public interest. Upon request, anyone's name will be added to the distribution list to receive public notices.

Waterbody is a river, creek, stream, lake, pool, bay, wetland, marsh, swamp, tidal flat, ocean, or other water area.