US Army Corps of Engineers
Chicago District Website

Obtain a Permit

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 as the recipient email.  For submittals greater than 10MB and less than 8GB, please use the DoD SAFE (Secure Access File Exchange).  Please contact us for an access code.

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:

  1. If no impacts to waters of U.S. or isolated waters will occur as a result of a proposed action;

  2. 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:

  1. A completed Letter of No Objection Request Form;

  2. A cover letter describing your proposed activity;

  3. A property location map;

  4. A copy of your plat of survey with the proposed location of any existing and new infrastructure, buildings, driveways, etc;

  5. 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.

If it appears that your project may qualify for a Regional General Permit (RGP), please make sure to read the entire Regional General Permit document and all applicable conditions for your particular project. Please make sure that your project meets the terms and conditions of the RGP.  This checklist can also be used for any applicable Nationwide Permits.

For a Regional General Permit, Notification must include:

  1. A cover letter providing a detailed description of the proposed activity;

  2. A completed Department of Army Permit Application (ENG Form 4345) 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;

  3. A discussion of measures taken to avoid and/or minimize impacts to aquatic resources on the project site;

  4. A clear project purpose and need statement,

  5. The area (in acres) of waters of the U.S. to be impacted;

  6. Quantity and type of fill material (in cubic yards);

  7. A map showing the location of the project area;

  8. Latitude and Longitude for the project in Decimal Degrees format (i.e. 41.878639, -87.631212);

  9. 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;

  10. 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;

  11. A plat of survey showing the property boundaries;

  12. Full-size engineering drawings and reduced-sized (11" x 17") 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 RGP;

  13. Scheduling of the activity. Indicate any completed portions and future phases;

  14. Submittal of soil erosion and sediment control (SESC) plans that identify all SESC measures to be instituted during construction of the project;

  15. Project proponents should work with the Chicago District to ensure that they have complied with the Endangered Species Act. A written request to USFWS to review the presence or absence of threatened and endangered species on the project property should be submitted prior to submitting your application.

  16. 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 best way to do this would be to obtain a letter from the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology indicating whether your project is in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended; 

  17. If the application is after-the-fact permit, a signed statute of limitations tolling agreement;

  18. compensatory mitigation plan for all impacts to waters of the U.S., (if compensatory mitigation is required under the specific RGP);

  19. 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.

  20. A written narrative addressing all items listed under the specific RGP.

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.

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:

  1. Alternatives analysis. Please include all items discussed within the RP checklist.

  2. Section 401 Water Quality Certification from IDEM.

  3. A detailed description of the project sufficient for Public Notice.

  4. Engineering plans on 11" x 17" sheets of paper.

  5. Mailing labels with adjoining property owners names and addresses must be included as part of your submittal. Labels must be prepared using all CAPITAL LETTERS.

  6. 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.

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) will require mitigation. If mitigation is necessary, please contact the project manager in your county to discuss mitigation options. There are four options for mitigation; applicants may propose using a combination of any option noted below:

  1. Purchase mitigation credits from a mitigation bank, if appropriate and available.

  2. Purchase in in lieu fee mitigation credits from Indiana Department of Natural Resources, if appropriate and available.

  3. Provide Permittee Responsible on-site mitigation and/or provide restoration/enhancement to on-site and/or off-site resources.

  4. 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.

Are you wondering if the wetlands, pond, lake or stream on your property is protected under the Clean Water Act? If you would like to request a Jurisdictional Determination for your property, please click here.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (312) 846-5530.