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Section 408 Approval Process (New 408 Regional General Permit). Richard J. Muraski Jr. Colonel, Corps of Engineers Commander Fort Worth District. Overview. 408 Approval Authority Flood Risk Paradigm Why Streamline? Streamlining Initiatives 408 RGP – What is it? Key Takeaways
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Section 408 Approval Process(New 408 Regional General Permit) Richard J. Muraski Jr. Colonel, Corps of Engineers Commander Fort Worth District
Overview • 408 Approval Authority • Flood Risk Paradigm • Why Streamline? • Streamlining Initiatives • 408 RGP – What is it? • Key Takeaways • POCs / Resources • Questions & Answers
How are they Applied? Stakeholder Projects • Waters of the US • Federal Project RGP PEA 404 / 10 408
408 Approval Authority • 33 USC 408 (Rivers & Harbors Appropriations Act of 1899) • Title 33 – Navigation and Navigable Waters • Section 408 – Taking possession of, use of, or injury to harbor or river improvements • Unlawful for any person or persons to build upon, alter, deface work built by the US to prevent floods unless SecArmygrants permission based on determination that the proposed project will: • Not be injurious to the public interest (NEPA Component) • Not impair the usefulness of the Federal project
Flood Risk Paradigm • THEN • Flood Damage Reduction (FDR) • Paradigm: Federal Protection • “We are Safe” • Individual Agency Processes • Project-by-Project • Focus on reducing damages by • managing floods • Minimal consideration to future • land use or other social effects • Decisions based on reducing the • potential for failure • NOW • Flood Risk Management (FRM) • Paradigm: Shared Risk Reduction • Integrated Agency & Stakeholder • processes to buy-down risks to a • tolerable level • Focus on reducing probability of • flooding & consequences should • flooding occur • Systems Approach (weakest link) • Integrate environmental, social, • and economic factors
Communication Levee Safety Program Activities
Why Streamline? • Perception: Some projects have required multiple years for review • Reality: Acquiring sufficient data for proper review & required Agency determination has sometimes been lengthy • Contributing Factors • Lack of Stakeholder understanding of roles, responsibilities and process • Insufficient Corps Guidelines for technical and NEPA submittals • Failure to coordinate/secure Sponsor review & approval • Incomplete submittal packages • Insufficient technical analysis • Lack of sufficient environmental compliance documentation
Fort Worth District Streamlining Initiatives • Developing Standard Business Process • Regional General Permit • Programmatic EA • Section 214
Standard Business Process • Developing Standard Business Process • Increase efficiency & reliability • Define Roles & Responsibilities • Process Map / Responsibility Matrix • Submittal Checklists • Increase Clarity / Decrease Anxiety
408 RGP – What is it? • Permit Name: Modification and Alterations of Corps of Engineers Projects • Permit Number: CESWF-09-RGP-12 • Issued 24 FEB 2010 • Expires 23 FEB 2015 • Purpose: Eliminate unnecessary duplication of work where the environmental consequences of the proposed action are individually and cumulatively minimal
Programmatic Environmental Assessment • Certain Conditions must be met to use • Must be a Minor Section 408 • Only affect grassland habitats or be covered under a Nationwide Permit or the RGP • Must not result in significant adverse impacts to cultural resources • Must not impact threatened or endangered species
WRDA Section 214 Authority • Legislation allows the Corps to accept funds from Non-Federal Public Entities to expedite 408 Actions & Regulatory Permits • Program Must: • Serve Public Interest with Accountability & Transparency • Ensure Impartial Decision Making • Expedite Permits • NCTCOG & USACE entered into a MOA October 2008 to process Regulatory Permits • COG is applicant & sets priorities for projects • Completed 30 Permit Actions to Date; 31 Pending Projects • Draft MOA being processed with NTCOG to process 408 Actions
Comparison of Section 214 Projects VS Regulatory Branch Performance in 2010 • Section 214 - 100% of Individual Permits issued in 120 days • Branch - 54.8% of Individual Permits issued in 120 days • Section 214 – General Permit verification averaged 7.6 days • Branch – General Permit verification averaged 25.7 days
Current Section 408 Actions • Major Modifications • No Major Section 408’s have been processed by the Ft Worth District for final approval by HQ • Cities of Irving and Dallas have Section 408 100-year levee remediation projects in process • May become minor Section 408’s if the modifications are determined to be insignificant • Anticipate several upcoming bridge/roadway levee crossings will be major actions • Estimated review & approval costs in the $150,000 range • Minor Modifications • Receiving numerous requests to modify DFW area projects • Goal to process and approve actions within 30 days of final submittal package • Review costs dependent on complexity but usually less than $10,000/ action
Key Takeaways • USACE is standardizing the process • Shared Risks – Shared Responsibility • Help improve Stakeholder understanding – embrace the concept • Early coordination with Sponsor by applicant will help reduce/minimize USACE review times. • Better integration of engineering design with environmental impacts needed to comply with NEPA and CWA (404) and RHA (Sec 10) • Ensure complete, comprehensive 408 submittal packages
POCs / Resources • 408 Business Process (Primary Contact) • Terry Bachim, Chief Maintenance Section • Terry.firstname.lastname@example.org • hyperlink • Regional General Permit (RGP) • Stephen Brooks, Chief Regulatory Branch • Stephen.email@example.com • http://www.swf.usace.army.mil/pubdata/environ/Regulatory/permitting/rgp/CESWF_09_RGP_12_Final_Signed.pdf • Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) • Rob Newman, Chief Environmental Branch • Rob.firstname.lastname@example.org • http://www.swf.usace.army.mil/pubdata/Notices/Minor408PEA/Final_Minor_408_PEA.pdf • Section 214 • Elston Eckhardt, Chief Civil Programs • Elston.email@example.com