Figure 1-3 Construction Gantt chart schedule.
• The last type of documentation, and most widely used, is a Categorical Exclusion, which is used when the activity will not significantly affect the environment. The NEPA requirement for such an activity is to document that the activity falls within the description of one of the Categorical Exclusions listed in OPNAVINST 5090.1A.
OPNAVINST 5090.1A also states that any activity undertaken by the Navy or Navy contractor will follow local, State, and Federal regulations. Agency authorization is necessary for almost every type of underwater construction activity. This includes local, State, and Federal authorization. In some cases, authorization from one agency may cover all three agencies, but more often than not, it is necessary to obtain authorization from multiple agencies.
Many different factors determine the appropriate agency to contact. Some agencies have authority over the type of activity no matter where it takes place. For example, the Army Corps of Engineers has authority over all discharging of dredged material into waters of the United States. Other agencies govern only within the boundaries of an area no matter what the activity. An example of this type of agency would be a National Park or Ecological Reserve.
Authorizations differ from agency to agency as well. Some agencies issue a Permit, others forward a Letter of Permission (LOP) or Letter of Authorization, while others require site approval. Regardless of the type of authorization, copies of all paperwork should be kept on or near the job site at all times.
• Finding the Correct Agency - If contacts cannot be obtained by the local military installation's Environmental Office, most agencies are listed in the phone book under Federal, State, and Local Government listings. The U.S. Coast Guard is always listed in the phone book. A local contact for the Army Corps of Engineers can usually be obtained from any Army Corps office. The local water quality control board is usually a county agency and may be titled differently. Keep in mind that more rural areas tend to have one agency to cover a multitude of environmental expertise. The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 encouraged each State to implement its own management program for coastal issues. The majority of coastal States therefore have a specific coastal zone agency or have a division within another agency to regulate coastal issues.
The local NAVFACENGCOM Engineering Field Division Environmental Office may also provide the necessary agency contacts or assist with obtaining consent for the local authorities.
• Type of Communication - Verbal communication is the best way to find the appropriate staff member to answer questions. Most agencies require that a written request or application be mailed or faxed. Written requests should include at least a brief project description, the date and time of the activities, and a map of the vicinity. Most local agencies require a minimum of 2 weeks notice prior to the start of operation. It is advisable to allow 6 months. Federal agencies may require 30 to 90 days notice (more than likely, this can take 6 months to a year).
22.214.171.124 Who to Contact. Table 1-1 provides some examples of environmental permitting contacts. In many cases, help can be sought from the Environmental Office (sometimes a division of Public Works) of the military installation closest to the location of the project. In cases where the Environmental Office is unavailable or the project is not located on or near a military installation, use the following guidelines obtain the appropriate authorization.
• Interference with Navigable Waters
- Any activity which may in any way interfere with navigable waters must be reported to the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the local marine authority (i.e., harbormaster or patrol office). This includes the addition or modification of marine structures, the ocean floor, or the capacity of the waterway. The Army Corps jurisdiction extends from shore to 3 nm while the USCG regulates all Federal waterways.
• Alteration of Structures - All alterations of structures, natural and manmade, including maintenance and construction, must be reported to the local coastal zone management agency if the structure is within State waters, and the Army Corps of Engineers if such construction may affect navigable waters.
• Dredging - The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) authorizes the discharge of dredged material into the waters of the U.S. as well as alteration of the seafloor by dredging.
• Discharging - The Army Corps of Engineers also regulates the discharging of dredged or fill material. All other discharging of potentially hazardous material (i.e., oil or rust contaminated water, laboratory chemicals, or unknown substances) into the water requires authorization from the local water quality control board. If any other discharges occur, the local Coast Guard COTP or MSO should be notified.
• Miscellaneous - Always remember that any area may be an area of special interest. For example, the use of land on an Indian reservation or breeding ground for an endangered species is regulated. Check with local authorities prior to undertaking any activity. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and State Fish and Game Department should be contacted if there is a potential for harm to any animal species. An Army Corps permit will sometimes include authorization from other agencies.
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