U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20314–1000



0 8 APR 1999


SUBJECT: Program Consistency and Reporting on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program

  1. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program is a vital part of the overall Civil Works Mission. It is also a very visible aspect of the Corps interaction with the public on a day-to-day basis. Consistency of administration of the Corps Regulatory Program is essential. There are differences geographically in the extent and functions and values of the waters of the United States we regulate, and there are different public views on the importance of regulating these waters. However, we must not allow these regional differences to dictate the administrative process that we subject the regulated and general public to as we carry out this important and visible mission.

  2. The result of your evaluations of permit applications will certainly reflect regional differences, but the process each district uses should be as consistent as possible nationwide. In addition to the need to be fair and consistent to applicants nationwide, with the limited resources available for program implementation, we must ensure that districts are using essentially the same procedures in fairness to the regulatory personnel in every district. We cannot afford to have some districts doing substantially more evaluation than other districts on similar types of projects. We recognize that the regulations, policy, and guidance provide substantial latitude in the procedures used. On the one hand, this promotes fair and reasonable decision making on very diverse permit applications. On the other hand, it creates the potential for dramatically different program administration nationwide. Some of the flexibility in the program guidance involves administrative procedures that can result in substantial expenditure of program

  3. Because of the need to administer the Corps Regulatory Program as consistently as possible, I am providing the enclosed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for implementation 30 days from the date of this memorandum. The 30-day period will provide time for each Major Subordinate Command (MSC) and district to review and understand the SOP. Should you have any questions or comments on the SOP please contact my Regulatory Branch, CECW-OR. Each district will be expected to execute its Regulatory Program consistent with this SOP. In addition, MSC oversight visits will assess how well each district is complying with this SOP, and decisions on annual resource allocation, as well as requests for additional funds will be partially based on how well the district is complying with the SOP. The SOP does not cover every aspect of the Corps Regulatory Program, it focuses on certain elements of the program that involve substantial resource allocation and differences in program implementation nationwide.

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