State Programmatic General Permit (SPGP) Update:
Draft 2017 SPGP Released

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) is proposing to modify and replace the existing SPGP (12-SPGP-01) which will expire on May 31, 2017.  On April 13, 2017, the COE Norfolk District released the draft 2017 SPGP (17-SPGP-01) for public comment.  Several noteworthy changes have been made to the SPGP, intended to expedite review of the permit application and in response to public inquiries.

What does this mean for existing SPGPs?

If your project is currently authorized by a 12-SPGP-01, and you are under construction or under contract to construct by May 31, 2017, the project will remain authorized under the existing permit until May 31, 2018.  If your project is not under construction or under contract, you will need to apply for coverage under the new 17-SPGP-01.  Please contact us if you need assistance with this.

We anticipate receiving clarification and additional information regarding the new 17-SPGP-01 conditions and reauthorizations requests at our educational seminar on April 20, 2017.  In-person registration has reached its limit; however, please click here to register for the simulcast webinar.

What has not changed?

  • For residential, commercial, and institutional development activities – the impact authorization limits of the 17-SPGP-01 remain the same, allowing the permanent loss of not more than 1 acre of non-tidal wetlands or open waters, and not more than 2,000 linear feet of stream channel. Compensatory mitigation is required for all permanent impacts that exceed 1/10th acre of wetlands and/or 300 linear feet of stream channel.
  • For linear transportation projects, compensatory mitigation is required for all permanent impacts to wetlands (when local, state, or federal funds are involved), and/or 300 linear feet of stream impacts (regardless of funding source).

What has changed?

  • Linear transportation project thresholds have increased from 1/3 to 1/2 acre of waters (cumulative) for all impacts.  A limit of 1,000 linear feet of stream channel impacts has been added.  Lateral encroachments are no longer considered differently than other impacts.
  • The SPGP can no longer be used to authorize projects that will impact waters, including wetlands, that are regulated pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) (i.e. navigable waters).
  • In order to ensure that a permit application is complete, the COE will require a Complete Application Form Checklist.
  • The SPGP application must now include a COE confirmed delineation (Preliminary Jurisdictional Determination) or a COE confirmed Jurisdictional Determination (Approved Jurisdictional Determination).
  • The Norfolk District has proposed to take back Section 106 coordination responsibilities that DEQ currently possesses under the 12-SPGP-01.  Therefore, we anticipate Section 106 coordination be initiated more quickly.
  • A minimum standard compensation ratio of 0.5:1 has been added for the permanent impact/loss of open waters.  Previously, the mitigation ratio was determined case-by-case basis.
  • The SPGP can now be used to authorize activities that qualify for the 17-SPGP-01, but are excluded from Virginia Water Protection (VWP) regulations.
  • A General Condition regarding Section 408 Certification was added stating the COE may grant permission to alter a COE civil works project if it does not impair usefulness of the project and does not harm the public interest (also included in the 2017 Nationwide Permits).
  • A condition pertaining to countersinking of pipes and culverts was revised to now require that Permittees (#25(b), pg 13) “ensure reestablishment of a surface water channel (within 15 days post-construction) that allows for the movement of aquatic organisms and maintains the same hydrologic regime that was present pre-construction (i.e. the depth of surface water through the permit area should match the upstream and downstream depths).” Note, this condition was also included in the 2017 Norfolk District Regional Conditions for the Nationwide Permits.Engineers will likely need to evaluate pipe velocity and adjacent sediments to ensure the adjacent in-situ stream sediments are deposited in the pipe bottom, and not scoured out in “storm events.” The design storm event for this condition will need clarification.  All engineers should comment on this.

Public Works agencies, land owners/developers, builders, engineers, environmental scientists, and contractors should asses these changes and submit comments.

Comments on the proposed 17-SPGP-01 must be submitted by close of business May 11, 2017.  Please submit comments by email or mail:

USACE Norfolk District
Warrenton Field Office
ATTN: Anna Lawston
PO Box 578, Amissville, Virginia 20106

If you have questions regarding how SPGP expirations or modifications may affect your project, please contact your WSSI project manager or staff listed below.


  • Christie Blevins, PWS, CESSWI, LEED AP

    Director - Regulatory

    Gainesville, VA