District issues special public notice to address flood recovery and repair activities

Published April 21, 2016

GALVESTON, Texas (April 21, 2016) ­– The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District issued a special public notice in response to severe flooding and other storm-related damages that occurred in communities along the Texas coast to provide guidance and a summary of exemptions and permits, which may be required for the protection and repair of existing flood damaged structures, damaged land areas and damaged fills.

“We want those affected by the Houston area flood event to know that there are existing permitting tools that allow residents to immediately rebuild structures located in waters of the United States, to pre-existing conditions without having to notify and receive permission from the Regulatory Division,” said Kim Baggette, chief of the United States Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District's Regulatory Division.

According to Baggette, a torrential rainfall event totaling 18 inches that occurred this week resulted in record flooding along a sizable area of the Houston metro area and rising waters to historic levels in some areas.

“We anticipate several county agencies, municipalities and owners of damaged property will want to conduct repair activities in the near future and we want to provide them with information to help them navigate through the required federal processes where applicable,” said Baggette. “A Corps Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and/or Section 404 Clean Water Act permit may be required for dredging or placing fill in waters of the United States, including rivers, lakes, streams, creeks and wetlands however, many of the permits have scopes of work and thresholds that allow you to accomplish your project without delay or waiting for an authorization.”

Baggette explained that USACE engineers are authorized to approve special processing procedures in emergency situations (unacceptable hazard to life, a significant loss of property or an immediate, unforeseen and significant economic hardship) if corrective action requiring a permit is not undertaken within a time period less than the normal time needed to process the application under standard procedures. All regular permitting and regulatory processes apply for those activities that are not emergency protective measures.

“Communities should keep the long-term recovery requirements in mind as they move through the initial construction stages of emergency protective measures,” said Baggette. “I encourage interested persons to review the special notice in its entirety for more information about existing regulations.”

The Special Notice for Flood Recovery and Repair Activities in the Galveston District is available at http://1.usa.gov/1TiEkfm.  

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Release no. 16-021