US Army Corps of Engineers
Chicago District Website

Standard Permits

INTRODUCTION
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 whom 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 DoD SAFE (Secure Access File Exchange).  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.

Individual Permits

If you have a project that does not meet the conditions of any of the General Permits, such as nationwide or regional permits, please contact our office to discuss this project with one of our regulators. 

A project that does not qualify for general permit or letter of permission authorization is to be reviewed through the individual permit process (see 33 CFR 325.5(b)(1)), which includes a public notice, public interest review, environmental documentation, and, if applicable, a Section 404 (b)(1) Guidelines compliance analysis.

Please note that issuance of an individual permit is contingent upon completion of an individual 401 water quality certification review by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). Please refer to our 401 water quality certification page for important details about this process. In addition, in some instances, a Coastal Zone Management Federal Consistency determination from the state will also be required. Click on the following states for links to that state’s coastal program: Indiana, Illinois

Refer to 33 CFR 325.1(d)(1)-(10) for a full description of the information needed for a complete individual permit application. The following are tips on what to include in your submission for issuance of the public notice and to help expedite the review of your project.

Information Required for Public Notice Issuance

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  • Illinois: (right click to download form to fill it out). All sections of the application form should be completed, and the form should be signed.
  • Indiana: (right click the link and select the option to save from the drop-down menu. Once the document is saved to your computer, it may be filled out.) All section of the application form should be completed, and the form should be signed

For issuance of the public notice, provide a brief description of the proposed activity and its purpose and intended use so as to provide sufficient information concerning the nature of the activity to generate meaningful comments. We recommend discussing your statement of purpose and need with your assigned Corps Project Manager.
 
In order to fully complete the permit review, the project narrative should be detailed and describe all the work to be performed, a clear project purpose and need statement, and explain how avoidance and minimization of temporary impacts and permanent losses of waters of the United States were achieved on the project site (i.e. site redesign, reduction in scope, alternate methods, etc.). The project narrative should include a description of the proposed construction practices that would be implemented to perform the proposed work and a description of the reasonably foreseeable direct and indirect effects to waters of the United States from the proposed construction practices.

The map should provide the location of the entire project site and include latitude and longitude in decimal degrees format of the center point of your project boundary.

Drawings, including plan and cross-section views, should clearly depict the location, size and dimensions of the proposed activity, as well as the location of delineated waters of the U.S. on the site. The drawings should contain a title block, legend and scale, amount (in cubic yards) and area (in acres) of fill in Corps jurisdiction, including both permanent and temporary fills/structures.

The amount of details provided in the drawings should be commensurate with the type of project being submitted. For more complex projects, the plans must 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.

A statement describing how impacts to waters of the United States are to be compensated for or a statement explaining why compensatory mitigation should not be required for the proposed impacts (See 332.4(b)(1).) Mitigation conceptual plans submitted with the application must include the following information at a minimum: proposed compensation type (bank or in-lieu fee credit, restoration, creation, preservation, etc.), location and brief discussion on factors considered for site selection (i.e., soils, water source, potential for invasive species, etc.), amount proposed per resource type and a discussion of how the proposal will compensate for aquatic resource functions and services lost as a result of the project.

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. 

Additional Information Needed to Complete the Review Process

Although not required for issuance of the public notice, we encourage providing the following information early in the review process. If provided with the application, brief summaries of this information will be included in the public notice to facilitate public and agency review of the proposed work. This information will be needed for a complete review of your application and the public interest review:
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An alternatives analysis under the 404(b)(1) Guidelines. The 404(b)(1) Guidelines state that an alternative is practicable if it is available and capable of being done after taking into consideration cost, existing technology, and logistics in light of overall project purposes (40 CFR 230.10(a)(2)). 

All mitigation projects must comply with the Federal Regulations on compensatory mitigation (33 CFR 332) entitled “Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources: Final Rule”, dated April 10, 2008, which is available at: https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Regulatory-Program-and-Permits/mitig_info/. Although a conceptual mitigation plan may be sufficient for the purposes of the public notice, a detailed mitigation plan must be approved by the Corps before any jurisdictional work may occur on the project site.

including wetlands and streams, for the project area, and for areas adjacent to the project site (off-site wetlands must be identified through the use of reference materials including review of local wetland inventories, soil surveys, and the most recent available aerial photography), must be prepared in accordance with the current U.S. Army Corps of Engineers methodology. For sites supporting wetlands, the delineation should include a Floristic Quality Assessment (Flora of the Chicago Region: A Floristic and Ecological Synthesis. Wilhelm and Rericha, 2017). This information is needed to evaluate the habitat quality, which in turn helps evaluate whether that habitat might support threatened and endangered species.

Click here for more information on delineation standards and what should be included in the wetland delineation report.

The photos should be sufficient to accurately portray the project site, keyed to a location map and not taken when snow cover is present.

A description of proposed soil erosion and sediment control (SESC) plans that identify all SESC measures to be utilized during construction of the project. If none are proposed, the application must provide a description of why their use is not practicable or necessary.

For projects located in Illinois: The Corps currently has an Interagency Coordination Agreement (ICA) with the local Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCD's) and with Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (LCSMC) to review SESC plans that are submitted to this office for permit issuance. This additional review is not required for all projects, so during the review of your application, your Project Manager will notify you if approval of your SESC plan from the applicable office is required. 
 

  1. The permit review will evaluate impacts for any activity which may have the potential to cause effects to any historic properties* listed, determined to be eligible for listing on, or potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Applications should include the following:
    • A written statement indicating if any such properties may be affected by the proposed project.
    • A copy of any completed archaeology or building/structure survey reports, if available. If a survey has not been performed, the statement shall include a list of resources checked in the determination.
    • Copies of any pertinent correspondence documenting compliance. Be sure to inform the SHPO that the information provided is associated with a Corps permit review.
      1. State of Illinois: 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) 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.
      2. State of Indiana: The applicant may 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. 

Copies of any available correspondence from federally recognized Indian Nations regarding historic properties that may be affected by the project.

The permit review will evaluate if any listed species (or species proposed for listing) or designated critical habitat (or critical habitat proposed such designation) might be affected or is in the vicinity of the activity, or if the activity is located in designated critical habitat or critical habitat proposed for such designation. Applicants are advised to not begin work on the activity until notified by the district engineer that the requirements of the ESA have been satisfied and that the activity is permitted. Several tools are available to help determine if an activity might affect a listed species. The applicant is advised to:

  • Consult the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) 
  • Log in or create an account and follow the instructions to request an official species list, evaluate determination keys, analyze project (if applicable), and download documentation. Provide all documentation in your application. Once your project has been assigned a Project Manager, please add that PM’s email address on the “Members” page of the IPAC project page.
  • It is also very helpful for our evaluation to have a comparison of the habitat within the project area with potential suitable habitat of the TE&C species listed in the official species list that was generated in IPaC. Information on suitable habitat for listed species can be found on the USFWS T&E website.
  • If there is potential habitat for any TE&C species or a mapped critical habitat within the project site, you are advised to contact our office as a survey may be needed. In general, you may be asked for the following: 
     
    1. The results of any habitat surveys and presence/absence surveys. Note: all surveys should be coordinated with the USFWS and/or NOAA-Fisheries (NMFS) prior to initiation.
    2. A detailed description of the proposed project, including secondary impacts and approximate proposed project construction schedule of project activities (e.g. land clearing, utilities, stormwater management).
    3. A description of the natural characteristics of the property and surrounding area (e.g. forested areas, freshwater wetlands, open waters, and soils) and a description of surrounding land use (residential, agricultural, or commercial).
    4. A description of the area to be impacted by the proposed project, including the species, typical sizes (d.b.h.) and number or acres of trees to be removed.
    5. A description of conservation measures to avoid, minimize and/or mitigate impacts to listed species.

For projects located in Indiana: 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.