Construction Guidelines

Interagency Guidelines:  Construction guidelines developed in conjunction with other federal and state resource agencies. Use of these guidelines should reduce the overall impact to the environment and may qualify applications for nationwide or general permits.

The purpose of the following guidelines is to provide you, the applicant, with environmental guidance that, when followed, will expedite the review of your permit application and may qualify you for a nationwide or general permit. These guidelines were developed by local offices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Texas General Land Office, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Adherence to these guidelines is not mandatory, however, compliance with them will ensure adequate protection of fish and wildlife and their habitats as mandated by Federal and State laws. It is our hope that by providing this guidance, you will be informed of federal and state agencies' environmental expectations which will enable you to plan your project in an environmentally sustainable manner. This should significantly reduce the time it will take for you to receive a permit.

General considerations that will expedite review of your permit application include:

1) Early in your planning phase, entire project plans should be provided to, and coordinated with, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so they may assess whether your project has potential endangered species concerns. The National Marine Fisheries Service may also need to be contacted if the project could effect sea turtles or marine mammals.

2) To the maximum extent practicable, environmental impacts should be avoided and/or minimized. For projects involving substantial discharge of dredged or fill material into wetlands or waters of the U.S., an alternatives analysis which identifies the least damaging project alternatives should be included with the permit application. Although this information is not required to apply for a permit, the Corps of Engineers may eventually need this analysis in order to review the permit. Contact the Galveston District Corps of Engineers for more information.

3) If unavoidable impacts to wetlands or other sensitive areas must occur, you should plan for mitigating temporary and/or permanent impacts associated with the project. These plans should be coordinated early in the planning process with the Galveston District Corps of Engineers and the various State and Federal resource agencies.

The following links provide specific guidelines:

-Boat Ramps

-Bulkheads, Breakwater Structures, and Other Shoreline Protection Projects

-Cable, Pipeline, and Transmission Lines

-Disposal of Dredged Material

-Drainage Canals and Ditches

-Dredging and Maintaining Channels or Canals

-Housing Development


-Mariculture and Aquaculture

-Oil & Gas Exploration and Production

-Residential Docks and Piers

-Sewage Treatment and Disposal


-Water Impoundment, Detention, and Retention

-Water Intake and Discharge Pipes

Federal Channel Setbacks

The intent of these Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is to provide a rapid and repeatable procedure for evaluating the construction of structures and/or the deposition of dredge and fill along federally maintained channels in order to preserve the government's ability to maintain such waterway and provide a margin of safety to those who use such waterway by maintaining established setbacks from federal channels. These SOPs apply to all Department of the Army permit applications pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  Graphic representations of the established setback lines are available for viewing in Google Earth. To download a free version of Google Earth or for further information on operating Google Earth, click here.



TCEQ Best Management Practices

TCEQ Best Management Practices:  Construction guidelines developed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Use of these impacts should reduce the overall impact to state waters and may reduce the timeframe for the TCEQ to consider their Water Quality Certification for Section 404 permits.