Submitting a complete permit application will allow our office to provide a more timely review.
When putting together your permit submittal, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact the project manager for your County. Please remember that a decision will not be issued from this office until all necessary documents are received and reviewed. If you are unsure who to contact, you may call our general line at (312) 846-5530.
The Chicago District has transitioned to digital applications. If it is necessary to provide a hard copy of the application materials, and/or any subsequent material, a digital copy must also be provided for the digital record. In order to have the highest quality documents, we prefer that the original digital documents are converted to PDF as opposed to the documents being printed and then scanned. Make sure to put ChicagoRequests@usace.army.mil as the recipient email. For submittals greater than 10MB and less than 8GB, please use the ARL Secure Access File Exchange (SAFE). Please contact us for an access code.
The below checklists have been broken down to anticipate the information needed for your particular project. Depending on the complexity of your project, we may ask for additional information or clarification on your project.
LETTER OF NO OBJECTION
Does your project fit in with the following scenario? "I don't plan on impacting any wetlands, streams or ponds, but in order to get a construction permit I need a letter from your office."
That letter from our office is called a Letter of No Objection (LONO). The county or municipality simply wants to make sure that you aren't violating the Clean Water Act before they issue you a local permit for your project.
A LONO may be requested in two situations:
- If no impacts to waters of U.S. or isolated waters will occur as a result of a proposed action;
- If impacts will occur to potentially regulated waters and an approved Jurisdiction Determination (JD) has been issued indicating that the water in question is not regulated under the Clean Water Act.
The following information is necessary in order to process a LONO request:
- A completed Letter of No Objection Request Form;
- A cover letter describing your proposed activity;
- A property location map;
- A copy of your plat of survey with the proposed location of any existing and new infrastructure, buildings, driveways, etc;
- A grading plan and wetland delineation (may be waived at the discretion of the project manager)
- Please be aware that any unpermitted discharge into an area within the jurisdiction of this office may result in civil or criminal enforcement under the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1319.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO SUBMIT FOR YOUR PROJECT?
First start by asking yourself a series of questions:
Does your project involve:
- maintenance of an existing structure, such as a seawall (Regional Permit 9)
- new bank stabilization (Regional Permit 10)
- constructing a pier (Regional Permit 11)
Then your project may qualify for one of our simpler Regional Permits (RPs). Please see our "Simple Projects Application Checklist" to see if your project qualifies and find out what will be needed by our office to process your application.
For all other projects that may require a permit, please review our Quick Overview of Regional Permits on the last page of our Regional Permit Program.
If it appears that your project may qualify for a Regional Permit, please make sure to read the entire Regional Permit document for that particular RP. Please make sure that your project meets the terms and conditions of the specific RP that you are applying for. This checklist can also be used for any applicable Nationwide Permits.
For a Regional Permit, Notification must include:
- A cover letter providing a detailed description of the proposed activity;
- A completed joint application form (NCR Form 426, Protecting Illinois Waters) signed by the applicant or agent. If the agent signs, notification shall include a signed, written statement from the applicant designating the agent as their representative;
- A discussion of measures taken to avoid and/or minimize impacts to aquatic resources on the project site;
- A clear project purpose and need statement,
- The specific Regional Permit(s) to be used for the activity;
- The area (in acres) of waters of the U.S. to be impacted. Please identify each impact, which waters it affects, and if the impact is permanent or temporary;
- Quantity and type of fill material (in cubic yards);
- A map showing the location of the project area;
- Latitude and Longitude for the project in Decimal Degrees format (i.e. 41.878639, -87.631212);
- Photographs of the site and all wetland areas or waters. Please include a description of what is shown in each photo, where it was taken on the property and the direction the photo was taken;
- A delineation of waters of the U.S., including wetlands, for the project area, and for areas adjacent to the project site (off-site wetlands shall be identified through the use of reference materials including review of local wetland inventories, soil surveys and the most recent available photography), shall be prepared in accordance with the current Corps of Engineers methodology and generally conducted during the growing season. For sites supporting wetlands, the delineation shall include a Floristic Quality Assessment (Swink and Wilhelm. 1994, latest edition, Plants of the Chicago Region). The delineation shall also include information on the occurrence of any high-quality aquatic resources, and a listing of waterfowl and amphibian species observed while at the project area. The Delineation should include an aerial photograph with the data points and wetland boundaries clearly labeled. For more information on how to conduct a wetland delineation, please consult the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual, and Regional Supplements to the Corps Delineation Manual. The District will exercise their judgment when it comes to the submittal of a wetland delineation. Flexibility of the requirements may be determined by the District on a case-by-case basis only;
- A farmed wetland determination if the property has been farmed within the last 5 years. See the Determination of Wetlands on Agricultural Lands document for more information on this;
- A plat of survey showing the property boundaries;
- Engineering drawings showing all aspects of the proposed activity and the location of waters of the U.S. to be impacted. The plans shall include grading contours, proposed and existing structures such as buildings footprints, roadways, road crossings, stormwater management facilities, utilities, construction access areas and details of water conveyance structures. The drawings shall also clearly depict waters, buffer areas, outlots or open space designations, best management practices, deed restricted areas, and restoration areas, if required under the specific RP;
- Scheduling of the activity. Indicate any completed portions and future phases.
- Submittal of soil erosion and sediment control (SESC) plans that identify all SESC measures to be instituted during construction of the project. We may require that the project be reviewed by the County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) or Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) Office to ensure that proper SESC measures are being implemented, check with the project manager to see if this is required; For more information on sediment and erosion control, please see page 9 of the Regional Permit Program;
- Project proponents should work with the Chicago District to ensure that they have complied with the Endangered Species Act. A Section 7 species list for the project area using the on-line application at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website. The application will indicate whether resources (species and habitats) listed or designated under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), may be present within areas affected (directly or indirectly) by the proposed project. You can access "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program of the Upper Midwest" website at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Endangered. Click on the Section 7 Technical Assistance green shaded box in the lower right portion of the screen and follow the instructions to completion. Print all documentation pertaining to the species list and forward the information to this office for review; if no species or habitats are listed, then a “no effect” determination can be made, and section 7 consultation is not warranted. If species or habitats appear on the list, then a biological assessment or biological evaluation will need to be completed to determine if the proposed action is likely or not likely to adversely affect them. The Corps will request initiation of section 7 consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service upon agreement with the applicant on the effect determinations in the Biological assessment or biological evaluation.
- A determination of the presence or absence of any state threatened or endangered species. Please contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to determine if any state threatened and endangered species could be in the project area. You can access the IDNR's Ecological Compliance Assessment Tool (EcoCAT) at the following website: http://dnr.illinois.gov/EcoPublic/. Once you complete the EcoCAT and consultation process, forward all resulting information to this office for consideration. The report shall also include recommended methods as required by the IDNR for minimizing potential adverse effects of the project;
- A statement about the knowledge of the presence or absence of Historic Properties, which includes properties listed, or properties eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The permittee must provide all pertinent correspondence documenting compliance. Initial documentation required for the Illinois State Historic Preservation Officer (ILSHPO) is located here: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnrhistoric/preserve/pages/resource-protection.aspx. The Historic and Architectural Resources Geographic Information System (HARGIS) at http://gis.hpa.state.il.us/hargis/ is the public portal to Illinois’ historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts. This database contains properties that have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, determined eligible for listing, or surveyed without a determination.
- Where an appropriate watershed plan is available, the applicant shall address in writing how the proposed activity is aligned with the relevant water quality, hydrologic, and aquatic resource protection recommendations in the watershed plan.
- If the application is after-the-fact permit, a signed statute of limitations tolling agreement;
- A compensatory mitigation plan for all impacts to waters of the U.S., (if compensatory mitigation is required under the specific RP);
- Please indicate if your project is receiving any grant money, and if there are any timelines regarding the expiration of the grant. Also, please specify if your project is funded by the ARRA, as we are required to keep track of ARRA funded projects.
- A written narrative addressing all items listed under the specific RP. Responses should be more specific than "noted" or "see plans".
It is our recommendation that an applicant wait to submit the permit application until you have all the required information for a project, as opposed to submitting an incomplete permit application. If you have any questions about what information to submit, please do not hesitate to contact the appropriate project manager or contact us at (312) 846-5530.
LETTERS OF PERMISSION AND INDIVIDUAL PERMITS
If you have a project that does not meet conditions within any of the Regional Permits, please contact our office to discuss this project with us. Your project may qualify for a Individual Permit or Letter of Permission. An Individual Permit is required for projects with potentially significant impacts. Individual permit applications are subject to a public interest review, as well as compliance with the Section 404 (b)(1) Guidelines. The requested application materials will be utilized by this office to determine the extent of impacts to the aquatic environment and the degree of wetland impact avoidance and minimization. You must submit all the information required for the Regional Permit, in addition to the following items:
- Alternatives analysis. Please include all items discussed within the RP checklist.
- Section 401 Water Quality Certification from the IEPA.
- A detailed description of the project sufficient for Public Notice.
- Engineering plans on 11" x 17" sheets of paper.
- Mailing labels with adjoining property owners names, "OR CURRENT RESIDENT", and addresses must be included as part of your submittal. Labels must be prepared using all CAPITAL LETTERS.
- Lists of authorizations required by other Federal, State and Local Agencies, including approvals received or denials already made.
If a decision is made to issue an individual permit, a fee may be requested before final validation.
SECTION 10 WATERS
Please click here for a list of Navigable Waters under Section 10 of the River and Harbors Act of 1899 found within the Chicago District.
Generally, projects that impact greater than 0.10 acre of wetland or impact a High Quality Aquatic Resource (HQAR) and/or and Advanced Identified (ADID) wetland will require mitigation. If mitigation is necessary, please contact the project manager in your county to discuss mitigation options. There are three options for mitigation; applicants may propose using a combination of any option noted below:
- Purchase mitigation credits from a mitigation bank, if appropriate and available.
- Provide on-site mitigation and/or provide restoration/enhancement to on-site and/or off-site resources.
- Provide permanent protection and management for a unique existing natural resource.
If mitigation is required for your project, we recommend scheduling a pre-application meeting with your assigned project manager to discuss options. Please see the Chicago District Permittee Responsible Compensatory Mitigation Requirements for more information. It is the discretion of the Chicago District to determine the appropriateness of the proposed mitigation plan for your planned project.
Please note: If you are applying for a Regional Permit 1 or Regional Permit 2, a pre-application meeting is strongly recommended. Because these types of projects tend to cover many acres and can have a dramatic effect on water quality, we have conditions within these permits designed to ensure the project is constructed to develop the land while at the same time protecting water quality. In addition to the items required for all permits, you should be aware that we may request the following items. Please review Regional Permit 1 and Regional Permit 2 on pages 17 - 22 of the Regional Permit Program.