In general, individual permits are for large projects that will have substantial impacts. Nationwide permits (which are general permits) are issued for smaller projects with minimal impacts. The greatest proportion of activities permitted is done so via a nationwide permit. Under Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can issue general permits to authorize activities that have minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. General permits can be issued for a period of no more than five years. A nationwide permit is a general permit that authorizes activities across the country, unless a district or division commander revokes the nationwide permit in a state or other geographic region. Nationwide permits authorize a wide variety of activities such as mooring buoys, residential developments, utility lines, road crossings, mining activities, wetland and stream restoration activities, and commercial shellfish aquaculture activities.

Individual permits are typically required where the level of project activities exceeds work thresholds authorized by General Permits. Individual permits require the submission of a permit application by the applicant followed by the Corps placement of the project on public notice for agency and public review. All permits, whether individual or general, must be reissued every five years.

Glossary:

  • Programmatic General Permit (PGP) - A type of regulatory permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) which authorizes states, local governments, tribes, or other federal agencies with regulatory programs comparable to the Corps' Section 10 or 404 Program to issue permits for specified activities in lieu of direct Corps' issuance of such permits.
  • State Programmatic General Permit (SPGP) - A type of PGP that is administered by a state agency and designed to eliminate duplication of effort between Corps districts and states, as well as to make the permitting process more efficient with flexibility as to the geographic region covered and whether nationwide permits are revoked.
  • Regional General Permit (RGP) - A type of PGP that is issued by the Corps with certain conditions that pertain to a limited(regional) geographic area; it can be used to modify or in place of nationwides (the role of various states).
  • General Authorization (GA) - A type of permit that is issued by a state for specific types of minimal impact projects, e.g. Oregon's GA.

ASWM Publications:

Other Publications:

Links to State Specific PGPs

Links to EPA Information on Programmatic General Permits:

  • EPA's Definitions Webpage with a break-down of how SPGPs/RGPs measure up to other aspects of wetlands regulatory programs.
  • EPA Webpage with info on Mid-Atlantic States with SPGPs.