General permits are authorizations that are issued on a nationwide, statewide, or regional basis for a category or categories of activities that are similar in nature and do not cause more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. General permits include Nationwide Permits (NWPs), Regional General Permits (RGPs), and Programmatic General Permits (PGPs). Notification requirements are associated with many NWPs. In addition, regional notification requirements may be added as needed. Pre-construction notification may be required for certain Nationwide Permit activities before the permittee may begin work in waters of the U.S. Even if notification to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not required in association with an activity in waters of the United States, when communicating with applicants, the Corps should advise the applicants they are still responsible for compliance with all applicable terms and conditions of the NWP that would authorize the work in jurisdictional waters. The use of more than one NWP to authorize a single and complete project is prohibited, except when the acreage loss of waters of the United States authorized by the NWPs does not exceed the acreage limit of the NWP with the highest specified acreage limit (general condition 24, “Use of Multiple Nationwide Permits”). An activity can be authorized by more than one general permit, if the activity is a single and complete project (33 CFR 330.2(i)), that will result in no more than minimal adverse environmental effects, and that will satisfy the terms and conditions of the applicable General Permits. A delineation of special aquatic sites is required for a complete NWP preconstruction notification.
Regional and Programmatic General Permits may be issued by a district or division engineer. RGPs can improve regulatory consistency and enhance program efficiency. PGPs are a type of General Permit that can be used to avoid duplication with other agencies, such as state programs regulating discharges of dredged or fill material into wetlands, to simplify the permit process for the regulated public, while protecting the aquatic environment. PGPs can help districts direct their limited resources to permit applications that may have greater environmental impacts (33 CFR 325.5(c)(3)). For further information on General Permits, exemptions and related services, please visit any of the 'Related Pages' on the right side of the screen. Information on how to apply for General Permits or request related services can be found on our 'E-Submittal Applications Page'.