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Individual Permits

The basic form of authorization is the individual permit. Processing such permits involves evaluation of individual, project specific applications in what can be considered three steps: pre-application consultation (for larger projects), formal permit application review, and decision-making.

Pre-application consultation usually involves one or several meetings between an applicant, USACE staff, interested resource agencies (federal, state, or local), and sometimes the interested public. The basic purpose of such meetings is to provide for informal discussions about the pros and cons of a proposal relative to its effects on the aquatic environment while the applicant is still in the planning process. The process allows for a consideration of potentially less environmentally damaging alternatives available to accomplish the project purpose, to discuss measures for reducing the impacts of the project, and to inform the applicant of the factors the USACE must consider in its decision-making process.

Once a complete application is received, the formal review process begins. The project manager prepares a public notice (if required), evaluates the impacts of the project and considers all comments received, addresses potential modifications to the project if appropriate, and drafts or oversees drafting of appropriate documentation to support a recommended permit decision. The permit decision document includes a discussion of the environmental impacts of the project, the findings of the public interest review process, and any special evaluation required by the type of activity such as determinations of compliance with the Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines.