Transportation projects that impact rivers, streams and/or wetlands require a permit or combination of permits. The permits are required in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations. Pertinent laws include: Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act, Sections 9 and 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, and Ohio’s Isolated Wetland Law. The regulatory agencies that may require permits include: United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), and United States Coast Guard (USCG) and may include the following permit types: USACE 404 individual permits, USACE 404 nationwide permits, USACE Section 10 permits, 401 water quality certifications, USCG Section 9 bridge permits, and Ohio EPA isolated wetland permits.
The Waterway Permits Unit (WPU) reviews transportation projects during their development to identify the type(s) of waterway permits they require. District Offices and project designers are advised of the permitting requirements for each project. The permit applications are then prepared by the WPU, District Offices and/or their consultants. The completed applications are forwarded to the WPU for review and coordination. The WPU serves as the single point of contact for coordinating all projects on the State and Federal Highway System with the Corps of Engineers, Ohio EPA and U.S. Coast Guard. Timely submission of applications is often crucial to meet project schedules.
A compensatory mitigation plan for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources is often a required component of a permit application. The WPU is responsible for evaluating possible mitigation opportunities and ensuring that an acceptable mitigation plan accompanies the waterway permit applications. The WPU works with the Ecological Unit, the Central Office-Office of Real Estate, and the ODOT Districts to develop, design, implement and monitor stream and wetland mitigation.