Field inspections are conducted to check compliance with permit conditions. Most field inspections are conducted in the company of the consultant for the project. Permission from the property owner must be obtained prior to any field inspection requiring access to private property.

When a project receives a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), it will be conditioned to allow representatives from the USACE to inspect the authorized activity and any mitigation, preservation, or avoidance areas at any time deemed necessary to ensure that the project meets the terms and conditions of the permit. Site inspections may be conducted before, during and after the construction of the proposed project and/or mitigation areas.

Certificate of Compliance

For those projects that are in noncompliance and legal action is appropriate, Class I Administrative Penalties cannot exceed the amount stated within regulation (33 CFR 326.6(a)). As of 2009, Class I Administrative Penalties cannot exceed $27,500. If the penalty amount exceeds the Class I Administrative Penalty, then the USACE will recommend a civil penalty to the US Attorney. The assessment of Class I Administrative Penalty or the recommendation of a civil penalty for noncompliance does not close the action. Rather, a penalty is for failure to follow the permit and all of the national, regional, and special conditions of said permit.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has independent authority under the Clean Water Act for unauthorized discharges and the district engineer should normally coordinate with EPA to determine the most effective and efficient manner by which resolution of a section 404 violation can be achieved. There is a national memorandum of agreement between EPA and USACE (dated 19 January 1989) regarding lead agency for investigating unauthorized activities. Additionally, it is encouraged that districts work with their appropriate EPA regions on field level agreements(October 2010) to further define the lead agency role for investigations of unauthorized activities in section 404 waters. The USACE is the lead agency for investigations of unauthorized activities within section 10 waters.

Inspection and surveillance activities are carried out by all means at the District Engineer's disposal. The USACE employees are instructed on the observation and reporting of suspected unauthorized activities in waters of the United States and of violations of issued permits. The assistance of members of the public and other interested Federal, State and local agencies is encouraged.

Presently about 5,500 alleged violations are processed in the USACE district offices each year. The approximate breakdown by authority is: Section 10, 10 percent; Section 404, 75 percent; and Section 10/404, 15 percent. The USACE strives to reduce violations by effective publicity, an aggressive general permit program, and an efficient and fair evaluation of individual permit applications.

How can you help?

If you feel that the observed activity does not have a permit, please contact us with the following information:

Contact Us

Coastal Branch:  (912)-652-5893
Piedmont Branch:  (678)-422-2735