Procedures for enforcing Corps permitting authorities are found here.
The district engineer uses a variety of means to inspect activities in waters of the United States. Corps of Engineers employees are instructed to observe and report suspected unauthorized activities in waters of the United States and violations of issued permits. The Corps is often aided by members of the public and other interested federal, state and local agencies who report suspected violations.
When the district engineer becomes aware of an unauthorized activity in progress, he must first issue a cease and desist order and then begin an investigation of the activity to ascertain the facts through coordination with state and federal resource agencies. If the unauthorized activity has been completed, the district engineer will advise the responsible party of the discovery and begin an investigation. Following evaluation, the district engineer will formulate recommendations on the appropriate administrative course or legal action to be taken.
The district engineer's evaluation contains a determination of whether significant adverse impacts are occurring that would require expeditious corrective measures to protect life, property, or a significant public resource. Remedial measures can be administratively ordered, and a decision can be made on whether legal action is necessary. District engineers typically coordinate with state and federal resource agencies when deciding on an appropriate action. Further evaluation of the violation takes into consideration voluntary compliance with a request for remedial action. A permit is not required for restoration or other remedial action.
The Army will accept applications for after-the-fact permits for cases that do not require legal action and for which complete restoration has not been ordered. The full public interest review is deferred during the early stages of the enforcement process. A complete public interest review is conducted only if and when the district engineer accepts an application for an after-the-fact permit.
The laws that serve as the basis for the Corps Regulatory Program contain several enforcement provisions that provide for criminal, civil, and administrative penalties. While the Corps is solely responsible for the initiation of appropriate legal actions pursuant to enforcement provisions relating to its Section 10 authority, the responsibility for implementing those enforcement provisions relating to Section 404 is jointly shared by the Corps and Environmental Protection Agency. For this reason the Army has signed a Section 404 enforcement memorandum of agreement (MOA) with EPA to ensure that the most efficient use is made of available federal resources.
If a legal action is instituted against the person responsible for an unauthorized activity, an application for an after-the-fact permit cannot be accepted until final disposition of all judicial proceedings, including payment of all fees and completion of all work ordered by the court.
The Corps strives to reduce violations by educating and informing the public, implementing an aggressive general permit program, and conducting efficient and fair evaluation of individual permit applications.