Take Action

Citizens and organizations interested in protecting wetlands and streams from destruction do not have to depend on regulatory agencies. Some of the things that you can do include:

Review public notices
Get on notice lists and check agency websites to keep up with proposed permits and determine which ones need attention.

Comment on proposed permits
Submit written comments on permits that appear to be avoidable, that have impacts not minimized or justified, and that need to be denied. Send copies to environmental groups, neighbors, politicians, and the media.

Request and attend public hearings
Request public hearings and show up to educate others and present comments, but do your homework to get the facts straight.

Do file reviews
Review files at the Corps and state offices to see how many permits are issued or denied, if monitoring reports are submitted, if inspections are being done, if problems are noted, and if enforcement actions are taking place. Find a way to publish or publicize your findings.

Conduct site visits
With maps and other documents from the files, go examine the sites and see if things really got done – and stayed done. If you are looking at sites permitted a few years ago, access is often not a problem, as areas may now be shopping centers, subdivisions, along roads or in other public spaces.

File complaints
Tell the Corps and/or state agency involved in the permits about violations and ask them to enforce the provisions. Make sure that mitigation sites were built as described in the permits, and protected in perpetuity by appropriate means if required.

Take citizen enforcement action
Consider taking your own action under the citizen suit provisions (§ 505) of the Clean Water Act which allows for the enforcement of state certifications of permits. By picking good cases you can be successful, meaning that besides corrective action and penalties, you can recover your costs.

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