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DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
BUREAU OF WATERWAYS ENGINEERING AND WETLANDS
GENERAL DESCRIPTION AND AUTHORITY
- The Department of Environmental Protection
hereby authorizes by General Permit subject to the terms and criteria set forth below the
installation, operation, modification and maintenance of certain agricultural activities that encroach
into streams and their floodways or bodies of water wholly or partly within or forming part of the
boundary of this Commonwealth. These agricultural activities are grassed or lined waterways,
terraces, diversions, waste storage facilities, spring development and minor drainage that supports
these activities and is necessary for contour strips when engaged in as a part of an existing
agricultural operation and shall only be implemented as part of a conservation plan consistent with
the 25 PA Code Chapter 102 (relating to Erosion Control) and approved by the County
Conservation District. This authorization is pursuant to Section 7(b) of the Dam Safety and
Encroachments Act, 32 P.S. §693.7(b) and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder at
25 Pennsylvania Code §105.441-104.449 (relating to General Permits). This General Permit is
subject to the terms and conditions set forth below.
DENIAL OF AUTHORIZATION
- The Department shall have the discretion, on a case-by-case
basis, to deny, revoke or suspend the authorization to use this General Permit for any project which
the Department determines to present a risk to life, property or the environment or otherwise would
not be adequately regulated by the provisions of this General Permit.
- The following terms as used in this General Permit shall have the following
AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS - Activities, practices and procedures that farmers adopt, use or
engage in for the production of crops and livestock. This does not include practices and procedures
related to timber harvesting.
BODY OF WATER - A natural or artificial lake, pond, reservoir, swamp, marsh or wetland.
CONSERVATION PLAN - A plan as required by 25 PA Code Chapter 102 (relating to Erosion
Control) that includes a map and narrative that identifies conservation practices including an
erosion and sediment control plan for an identified parcel of land.
CONTOUR STRIPS - The practice of farming sloped land using alternating crops in such a way that
plowing, preparing land, planting and cultivating are done on the contour as part of an agricultural
operation. Contour strips without drainage are not regulated.
DIVERSIONS - A graded channel with a supporting ridge on the lower side which is constructed as
part of an agricultural operation across the slope of a field to intercept surface water runoff and
carry it slowly to surface or underground outlets.
FLOODWAY- The channel of the watercourse and those portions of the adjoining floodplains which
are reasonably required to carry and discharge the 100-year frequency flood. Unless otherwise
specified, the boundary of the floodway is as indicated on maps and flood insurance studies
provided by FEMA. In an area where no FEMA maps or studies have defined the boundary of the
100-year frequency floodway, it is assumed, absent evidence to the contrary, that the floodway
extends from the stream to 50 feet from the top of the bank of the stream.
GRASSED OR LINED WATERWAY- A natural or constructed channel that is shaped or graded to
required dimensions and established in suitable vegetation or protection for the stable conveyance
of surface water runoff which is part of an agricultural operation.
INSTALL - To construct, deposit, place, lay or set in place.
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MINOR DRAINAGE - The installation of a water conveying device as necessary for the installation
and operation of contour strips and other conservation practices authorized by this General Permit
conducted as part of an agricultural operation.
OWNER - A person who owns, controls, operates, maintains or manages a dam or reservoir, water
obstruction or encroachment.
PERSON - A natural person, partnership, association, corporation, public utility, municipality,
municipal authority, political subdivision of the Commonwealth, receiver or trustee and a
department, board, commission or authority of the Commonwealth.
REGULATED WATERS OF THIS COMMONWEALTH - Watercourses, streams or bodies of water
and their floodways wholly or partly within or forming part of the boundary of this Commonwealth.
SPRING DEVELOPMENT - The practice of intercepting and conveying water to a livestock
watering facility that will not be used for a public water supply when conducted as part of an
STREAM - A watercourse.
TERRACE - An earthen embankment or a ridge and channel constructed across a slope of a field
to intercept surface runoff water and outlet it to a grassed or lined waterway or an underground tile
as part of an agricultural operation.
WASTE STORAGE FACILITY - A structure or basin for temporary storage of animal or other
organic agricultural wastes constructed as part of an agricultural operation.
WATERCOURSE - A channel or conveyance of surface water having defined bed and banks,
whether natural or artificial, with perennial or intermittent flow.
WETLANDS - Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a
frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a
prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, including swamps,
marshes, bogs and similar areas.
SPECIFIC AREAS WHERE THE GENERAL PERMIT DOES NOT APPLY
- This General Permit
does not apply in and is not valid in the following situations:
Historic, cultural or archaeological sites as identified in the latest published version of the
Pennsylvania Inventory of Historic Places or the National Register of Historic Places.
Sites identified in the latest published version of the National Registry of Natural Landmarks.
Wetlands which serve as habitat for fauna or flora listed as “threatened” or “endangered”
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Wild Resource Conservation Act, the Fish
and Boat Code or the Game and Wildlife Code. Sites may be checked through the
Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory by completing an online search at
Watercourses having a drainage area greater than 100 acres.
Submerged Lands of this Commonwealth.
A spring being developed for public drinking water.
- Nothing in this General Permit relieves the owner(s) of the obligation of
complying with all Federal, Interstate Compacts and State laws, regulations and standards for the
construction, operation or maintenance of the activities covered by this General Permit.
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REGISTRATION OF PROPOSED USE OF GENERAL PERMIT
- Prior to construction, the
owner(s) shall submit the General Permit Registration form with the required attachments to the
delegated County Conservation District or to the appropriate DEP Regional Office ’s Permitting and
Technical Services Section (see attached listings). A copy of the General Permit Registration form
shall also be sent to the municipality and county in which the work will be performed.
may not begin work until he has notified the appropriate office and received an
acknowledgement of that registration.
CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP
- If there is a change in ownership of the agricultural activities installed
in accordance with this General Permit, the new owner(s) is required to register the activities with the
Department in accordance with Item 6.
- The fee required for a project authorized under this General Permit shall be consistent with
25 PA Code §105.13 (relating to regulated activities – information and fees).
EFFECTIVE TIME PERIOD
- This General Permit will remain in effect indefinitely, unless
specifically modified, suspended or revised by the Department.
SUSPENSION, MODIFICATION OR REVOCATION-
The Department may suspend, modify or
revoke this General Permit at any time upon notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
- This General Permit does not authorize any interference with any
existing or proposed Local, State, Federal or Federally Licensed Project, and permittee shall not be
entitled to compensation for damage or injury to the work authorized herein which may be caused by
or a result of existing or future operations undertaken by the United States, Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania, or its Political Subdivisions in the public interest.
The use of this General Permit is only authorized as part of a conservation plan approved by
a County Conservation District (“Exhibit C”).
Grassed waterways, terraces, diversions, waste storage facilities, spring, development and
minor drainage must be constructed and maintained according to 25 Pa. Code Chapter
101.8 and the design standards and specifications found in the technical guide for
Pennsylvania available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources
Conservation Service or the County Conservation District (“Exhibit C”).
All excess material from any activity must be deposited and stabilized outside the regulated
waters of this Commonwealth.
Any archaeological artifacts discovered during the performance of work authorized under
this General Permit must be adequately protected and their discovery promptly reported to
the Bureau for Historic Preservation, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission,
400 North Street, Second Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0093, Telephone (717) 783-8946.
Pollution of the waterway with harmful chemicals, fuels, oils, greases, bituminous material,
acid, and/or other harmful or polluting materials, is prohibited.
Wetlands shall be avoided if an alternate location is possible. Where wetlands cannot be
avoided and the activities are necessary to minimize erosion and sedimentation and
improve water quality, the impact shall be minimized.
Waste storage facilities constructed within 250 feet of a source of water used as a public
water supply source as defined under Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act may need to
be relocated due to the geology of the site. Contact the Regional Water Supply
Management Office in your area.
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- As a condition of use of this General Permit and of the owner's
authority to conduct the activities authorized by this General Permit, the owner(s) hereby authorizes
and consents to allow authorized employees or agents of the Department, without advance notice or
a search warrant, at any reasonable time and upon presentation of appropriate credentials, and
without delay, to have access to and to inspect all areas where the project is being constructed,
operated or maintained. The authorization and consent shall include consent to conduct tests or
sampling, to take photographs, to perform measurements, surveys and other tests, to inspect the
methods of construction, operation or maintenance, to examine and copy books, papers and
records pertinent to any matter under investigation and to take other action necessary to assure the
project is constructed, operated or maintained in accordance with the terms and conditions of this
General Permit. This General Permit condition is included pursuant to Section 16 of the Dam Safety
and Encroachments Act 32 P.S. §693.16, and in no way limits any other powers granted under the
Dam Safety and Encroachments Act or the Clean Streams Law, 35 P.S. §691.1 et seq.
ACTIVITIES NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OR CONDITIONS
- If the Department
determines, upon inspection, that the construction, operation or maintenance of a project has
violated the terms or conditions of this General Permit or the Rules and Regulations published at
25 Pa. Code Chapter 105, Chapter 102 or Chapter 101.8, the Department may take such actions,
legal or administrative, that it may deem to be appropriate, including revocation of the General
Permit with regard to the violation.
- The owner(s) shall remove all or any portion of the activities covered
by this General Permit upon written notification to the owner(s) by the Department in the event the
project is causing an adverse impact on public health, safety or the environment or in any other
manner violates the conditions of this General Permit or Chapter 105.
- This General Permit does not convey any property rights, either in real
estate or material, or any exclusive privileges; nor does it authorize any injury to property or invasion
of rights or any infringement of Federal, State or local laws or regulations.
- The owner(s) shall secure all other approvals that may be necessary under
Federal, State or local laws or regulations.
FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION NOTIFICATION
- The owner(s) shall notify the Pennsylvania Fish
and Boat Commission's Regional Field Office Manager (see “Exhibit A”) responsible for the County
where the activities are proposed ten (10) days prior to start of construction. Written notification is
suggested. The project site shall at all times be available for inspection by authorized officers and
employees of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
- Work must be done in compliance with a Conservation Plan
which meets the requirements of Chapter 102, including erosion control measures for the
construction of best management practices installed pursuant to that plan. The project shall at all
times be available for inspection by authorized employees of the county conservation district. The
Conservation Plan shall be available at the site at all times.