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OCMP and the COE Permit Program
COE Nationwide Permits Defined

The federal Nationwide Permit Program is a series of general permits developed by the Corps of Engineers to authorize certain activities subject to the Corps Section 10 and 404 authorities without all the process requirements of an individual Corps permit. The nationwide permits are essentially ìpre-issuedî permits each covering a specific category of activities with built in thresholds and conditions ñ for example Nationwide Permit #3 is for maintenance activities; Nationwide Permit #7 is for outfalls [lcd/coastal glossary.doc: outfall]; Nationwide Permit #35 is for minor dredging; Nationwide Permit #39 is for residential, commercial & industrial wetlands fills; etc. In some cases, these permits authorize proposed work without further action by the Corps. But in most cases, applicants are required to notify the Corps after which the Corps will verify whether a nationwide permit applies. The fundamental basis for the federal program is that only projects with ìminimalî environmental impacts are to be authorized under nationwide permits.
For more information about the Nationwide Permit Program, contact the Corps' Portland District Regulatory Branch at 503-808-4373 or link to their web site.

How Federal Consistency Works

As stated above, Corps nationwide permits are Section 10 and 404 permits. These Corps permits are specifically included on the OCMP federal permits list as being subject to DLCD review. This means that the Corps cannot grant final federal authorization under a nationwide permit until the need for coastal zone concurrence has been addressed. However, DLCD has reviewed the overall nationwide permit program, including modifications proposed over time, and addressed the nationwide permits on a programmatic basis. DLCD considered the various activity and use categories that can be authorized with nationwide permits to determine where and under what circumstances one-time, up-front, coastal zone approvals [i.e., advanced concurrences] can be granted for the nationwide permits. We then negotiated with the Corps to establish conditions that would allow for advanced coastal zone concurrences for many of the nationwide permits. Any such conditions then apply to project-by-project authorizations given by the Corps. If an applicant complies with the coastal zone conditions attached to the nationwide permit, then no further authorization is needed from the OCMP.
DLCD also partially authorized certain nationwide permits, for example by only granting advanced concurrence for a project under a certain size or not granting an advanced concurrence for a project in a certain location like a coastal estuary. For some nationwide permits, DLCD was not able to issue any advanced concurrences. If a project qualifies for a nationwide permit but not an advanced coastal zone concurrence, then the nationwide permit is considered ìdenied without prejudiceî by the Corps. This means that the Corps still uses the nationwide permits to authorize projects but does not grant final federal authorization until the applicant has obtained an individual coastal zone concurrence from DLCD.
Does your project qualify for a nationwide permit? To find out, contact the Corps Portland District Regulatory Branch, NOT DLCD, to determine if a nationwide permit is appropriate. If so, are you covered by an advanced coastal zone concurrence? Either DLCD's federal consistency reviewer, or the Corps Portland District Regulatory Branch in consultation with DLCD, can tell you whether your project is covered by an advanced coastal zone concurrence.