The Permit Program is responsible for reviewing and providing
Departmental comments on approximately 300 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coast
Guard and Office of Water Resources individual permits for work in water each
year. The Corps of Engineers permit reviews (half or more of the volume during
a typical year) are mandated by the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, which
requires the Corps to consult with the appropriate state fish and wildlife agency
before granting a permit.
In conducting permit reviews, the Program Manager works closely with staff
of the five Corps Districts having jurisdiction in Illinois as well as the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The Program Manager also coordinates
with the IDNR divisions of Fisheries, Forestry, Natural Heritage and Wildlife
Resources in evaluating the potential fish and wildlife impacts of proposed
activities. He meets as necessary with the applicants and permitting agencies
and provides Departmental recommendations for avoiding or mitigating fish and
The program also reviews approximately 150 Corps "Nationwide" permits each
year. These involve accelerated processing (usually a 5-day turnaround) with
correspondence handled electronically. In addition, the program reviews approximately
400-500 Office of Water Resources "Waters of the State" permits for compliance
with the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act. These types of Corps and
OWR projects are typically processed directly by the Program Manager without
soliciting comments from other IDNR staff.
The Program Manager also serves as the Departments' representative on various
interagency planning efforts involving work in water (e.g. the Illinois River
Quality Action Team of the Corps of Engineers, the Chain O' Lakes dredging proposal
of the Fox Waterway agency, etc.). This typically involves negotiation on behalf
of the Department aimed at impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation to
reduce and/or compensate for project-related environmental impacts.
Other major duties of the permit program include:
- reviews of pertinent state and federal legislation (e.g. the Regulatory
Reforms of the Corps of Engineers)
- representation of IDNR/OREP on P.L. 566 (Small Watershed) and RC&D (Resource
Conservation and Development) projects of the U.S.D.A. Natural Resource Conservation
- serving as Chairman of the Illinois River On-Site Inspection Team, a joint
working group including representatives of seven state and federal agencies/offices
which advises the Corps of Engineers (Rock Island District) on its navigational
dredging program for the Illinois River.
- providing in-house expertise concerning freshwater mussel distribution and
ecology. This includes published surveys of the mussels of the Sangamon River
and Green River basins, and an ongoing survey of the Fox River basin.