USACE – When do I need a permit?

The US Army Corps of Engineers operates and manages various federal projects across America. They also enforce requirements based on the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.  But did you know they are also responsible for permitting work according to the Clean Water Act Sec 404?  The following information will help you determine if your project needs a permit.

Is the desired water path work area connected to any other bodies of water in either direction (upstream or downstream)? Will the work you do increase or decrease water flow? Will it increase or decrease any movement of silt or sand?  If any of the following types of waters are potentially impacted by the work intended, you need a permit.

“All other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds, the use, degradation, or destruction of which could affect interstate or foreign commerce including any such waters:

  • Which are or could be used by interstate or foreign travelers for recreational or other purposes; or
  • From which fish or shellfish are or could be taken and sold in interstate or foreign commerce; or
  • Which are used or could be used for industrial purpose by industries in interstate commerce;”

Why a permit?

“An individual, or standard permit, is issued when projects have more than minimal individual or cumulative impacts, are evaluated using additional environmental criteria, and involve a more comprehensive public interest review.”

The Galveston office is our area office for Montgomery County. An Individual permit fee is $10.00.  If a Commercial permit is required, the fee is $100.  Please gather the appropriate information such as contact names and phone numbers (relevant parties, homeowners for permission to access property), maps, pictures, and a detailed explanation of the single and complete project work to be done. Once your initial information is reviewed, the USACE office can inform you if anything else is needed.

To get the process started, email the information and supporting docs to

If you need to contact the office,  phone number is 409-766-3869

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District
Regulatory Branch, Compliance Section
Attn:  Chief of Compliance
P.O. Box 1229
Galveston, TX  77553-1229


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