The Wetlands Impact Tracker follows the development of federal permitting under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The USACE evaluates permit applications for any work, including oil and gas projects, in the Nation’s navigable waters. Similar to other dashboards on the Climate Program Portal, the Wetlands Impact Tracker makes accessible to a broad audience valuable data from key federal programs related to climate change.

The Wetlands Impact Tracker compiles public notices of those permit applications, typically stored in PDFs. The data pulled from these notices can help users better understand the impact of development projects on sensitive areas by revealing and summarizing individual notices, and aggregating information for advocacy work, public comments on proposed projects, and more. We encourage you to use this tool to explore and better understand how development projects are impacting the communities you work with and live in.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) evaluates permit applications for certain projects impacting wetlands, navigable waters, and sensitive areas. A public notice is prepared as the primary method of advising all interested parties of the proposed activity for which the permit is sought for. The notice is issued by USACE within 15 days of the receipt of a complete permit application to solicit comments from the public, local agencies and organizations, and other interested groups or individuals who may be impacted by the proposed projects. Comments and information collected are used to evaluate the probable benefits and negative impacts.

This Tracker extracts structured data from public notices that are typically buried in PDF documents. The extraction is fully automated, with no fields being collected manually. The automated logic utilizes pattern recognition and artificial intelligence to extract fields of interest. This data processing improves access to vital information and enables analyses on the cumulative impact of these notices and their proposed projects. Information that has been extracted using AI is highlighted and extra care should be given by the user to validate this data before using it in any analysis or publication. 

Explore the Tracker to learn more about projects in your area!

The Wetlands Impact Tracker is a collaborative effort between Atlas Public Policy, the Environmental Policy Innovation Center, Healthy Gulf, and the Environmental Impact Data Collaborative at Georgetown University’s Massive Data Institute at the McCourt School of Public Policy. Efforts include data collection, processing, analysis, outreach, and dashboarding.

The current version of the Tracker includes the following four USACE districts (out of 38 total districts): Jacksonville, Mobile, New Orleans, and Galveston. The states, or parts of states, that those districts cover include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Some of the notices tracked also exist in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each district has its own website where it publishes the public notices. Data is currently available for all four districts dating back to 2012, depending on the information that has been made publicly available on each district’s website. The dashboard contains two tabs: Overview and Notice Details. Navigation between the two tabs is controlled by the two buttons on top of the dashboard. The entire dashboard is interactive and users are encouraged to click around to explore and better understand the data. Clicking on different parts of the charts and maps will filter the dashboard accordingly. For example, clicking on the notice category “Ports” will filter the Key Metrics and highlighted dots on the interactive map to display only facilities and data tied to facilities classified as “Ports”.

The data presented on the Tracker can be filtered in many ways. There is a yellow filter pane on the right side of the dashboard to help users find an exact data point. Users can apply one or many filters at the same time by expanding the pane, setting the desired filter, and clicking “Apply filter.” 

Some charts and maps have additional help text that can be seen by hovering over the (?) icon on the top right side of the charts. The data behind these charts and maps can be exported by clicking on the three horizontal dots at the top right of the data visual, clicking “Export data,” and clicking the green “Export” button.

This Tracker was created with those who live and work in affected communities in mind. Historically, advocates and organizations who want to understand how projects develop in their communities could only acquire that information by manually combing through USACE district websites and fragmented PDF documentation. This dashboard addresses those issue by allowing users to more easily find the information they need:

  • Users can search through public notices matching various criteria they select (e.g., open vs. closed for comment, oil and gas or port construction, geographic location, etc.), and better locate the information they need. 
  • The information gathered by the Tracker is also suitable for users who want to provide public comment on proposed projects, raise awareness about developments in their communities, learn about where restoration funding is going, and much more. 
  • Exploring and interacting with this dashboard can likewise reveal trends in proposed projects that might not otherwise be obvious without the use of maps and visuals provided. Every piece of the dashboard has been designed for download and analysis to better meet users’ particular needs in this evolving landscape. 

A secondary goal of this project is to increase transparency of the public notice process (i.e., between USACE and the public), and to advocate for better data standards when it comes to federal permitting agencies. We believe that with more visibility in this space—and better use of this data to drive policy conversations around protections against harmful development projects—the more likely it is that agencies will improve their permitting processes and documentation.

What is the scope of the data collected here?

Public notices are pulled directly from USACE web pages (RSS feed) and the accompanying documentation for each of the districts covered. Each district has its own webpage where it publishes notices for public view. The current iteration of the Tracker includes the following USACE districts: Jacksonville, Mobile, New Orleans, and Galveston. Data is scrapped from the first publicly available notice, beginning in 2012 through present day. Special notices are excluded from the dashboard as they usually are not assigned a permitting number. If interested in special notices, users must visit the district websites directly. Special notices include information such as an announcement of changes in permitting criteria, rules, and events.

How often is the data updated?

Automated software checks for new permits once a day. Each check looks at the past 20 days of permits and pulls newly found notices into the dashboard.

What are the data sources?

The base of all data is sourced directly from USACE districts’ public notice pages and PDFs. Most of the data is pulled from USACE documents using regular expressions (regex), a sequence of numbers and letters that specifies a match pattern in text, to match words that follow defined patterns. Some highlighted fields may contain AI generated language not found precisely in the original documents. Because all notices and texts do not follow an identical template, rigid formula-based approaches like regex fail. Using LLMs to process the text allows users to summarize and extract information without reading the text. Applying AI here allows users to extract information from texts that do not follow explicit patterns and identify notices more easily by generating summaries and flagging notices by categories. LLMs made available by OpenAI and Microsoft Azure are used for this purpose. Population metrics are sourced from the American Community Survey (2019-2015) at the Census Block Group level.

Note On Data Accuracy

A sample of collected data has been tested for accuracy by the project team. However, not all data has been validated given the large quantity of permits available. Users of this dashboard should validate all data they intend to use in any analysis. If you find discrepancies between the dashboard and the original USACE documents, please reach out to us at  

At the top of the Dashboard, there are five Key Metrics. 

Notices Tracked: The number of notices being tracked by the dashboard.

Notices Mapped: The number of notices containing location information for mapping. Any discrepancy between the number of notices mapped and notices tracked correspond to unavailable information in published  notices.

% in Disadvantaged Communities: The total percentage of notices, where there is location data available, mapped onto the Climate & Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) dataset for disadvantaged communities. Defined as communities that are in Census Tracts that meet the thresholds for at least one of the tool’s categories of burden or if they are on land within the boundaries of federally recognized tribes. 

Oil and Gas Related: The number of notices that have been identified as oil and gas related projects. This field is derived by using the permit PDF text as an input to an LLM and classifying the work into a notice category. Oil and gas encompasses suspected oil and gas facilities, pipelines, and flowlines.

Open for Comment: The number of notices open for public comment, in real-time.

Public Notice

A Public Notice is prepared as the primary method of advising all interested parties of a proposed activity for which a permit is sought. It also serves the purpose of soliciting public comments and providing information necessary to evaluate the probable beneficial and detrimental impacts on the public interest, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Public notices are only prepared for projects determined to exceed minimal individual or cumulative adverse environmental effects and that may be contrary to the public interest. 

Notice District

The name of the district where a public notice, and associated project, is from.

Permit Number

Alphanumeric identifier assigned to an individual notice, including the shorthand for the name of the district (i.e. Galveston is SWG).

Date Published

The date when a notice was made publicly available on a USACE district website. Date format is mm/dd/yyyy.

Notice Category

The categorization assigned to a project notice using descriptors of the project that have been classified using a LLM. Notice categories are based on this guide published by the Louisiana Office of Coastal Management: Commercial developments, Drainage features, Environmental, Industrial developments, Landfill, Land reclamation and shoreline stabilization, Levee, Marina, Oil and gas, Ports, Recreation facilities, Residential subdivisions, Restoration, Transportation, Utility, Wetland Mitigation, or Other.

Notice Location

Each public notice filed lists the city, county, and state in which the proposed project will be located. In addition to this, latitude and longitude data is provided for more precise locational information. This dashboard utilizes the latitude and longitude provided to map public notice locations to a single point. Although some notices provide multiple location points, the Tracker avoids calculating polygon-based location information for consistency across districts. Mapped Location refers to the location of a notice, where data is available to geolocate.

Comment Period Status

A tracked notice will indicate whether it’s open for public or comment or not. Normally, each notice is granted 15-30 days for public comment once it is published by USACE. After the public comment period elapses, the dashboard will indicate it is no longer open.

Project Summary

An AI generated summary of the project notice or scope of work proposed in a public notice using the select sections of publicly available documentation. It includes information about the project, parties involved, impacts to wetlands and other water bodies or land types, and other relevant details. Users should not look at the project summary as all encompassing and should instead read the documentation provided by USACE for project details.

Character of Work

Directly pulled from the project notice documentation. A summarized description of the project proposal, usually including the scope of work, any impacts on land and bodies of water, and materials for any construction.

Planned Mitigation

Directly pulled from the project notice documentation. Proposed efforts to mitigate or minimize any negative impacts on the land or bodies of water within the scope of the project.

Impacted Area

For each project notice, the dashboard provides the sum of total impacted area in acres and whether its classified as a loss or restoration. This data field uses an LLM to extract the quantity of area impacted from text in the documentation. Original units are reported without any conversion. Projects reported in units outside of acres are not captured and users should consult original documentation to gather this information.

Impact Type

The classification of impact associated with a project notice. Impact type includes several categories such as dredging, construction, restoration, among others. Each permit can be tagged to multiple impact types. This field is extracted using a LLM.

Project Manager Details

The assigned project manager for that notice. Includes details such as the name of the organization/individual, email, and phone number.

Median Household Income

The median household income where the project notice is located. This statistic is also provided in conjunction with the national average for comparative purposes.

Population Under Poverty Line

The percent of population with an income under 200 percent of the poverty line where the project notice is located. This statistic is also provided in conjunction with the national average for comparative purposes.

Other Population Metrics

Data is also provided, at the Census Block Group level, describing the total population and break down by race. All race descriptors use the definitions provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Why was the Tracker created?

The developers behind this project hope to increase data access and transparency when it comes to wetlands impacts, oil and gas projects, and other land developments under the U.S. Army Corps’ jurisdiction. The data pulled from these notices can help users better understand the impact of development projects on sensitive areas by revealing and summarizing individual notices, and aggregating valuable data. Empowered with a clearer picture of the current landscape, users can produce better outcomes for the communities impacted.

How often is data updated and how will I know when there’s been an update?

Automated software checks for new permits once a day. Each check looks at the past 20 days of permits and pulls newly found notices into the dashboard. New notices will appear on the top of the permits table on the Overview tab of the dashboard. The user can also use the Date Published filter to choose a recent date window to see recently released notices.

Can I share this data? 

The data on the Wetlands Impact Tracker is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. In a nutshell, users are free to share, create, and adapt the data from the dashboard as long as users attribute any public use of the data to the Wetlands Impact Tracker. If users have questions, please get in touch: 

What if I have feedback on the data?

We welcome feedback! If you have thoughts to share with us on the dashboard or the scope of the project, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch: 

What if I see an error on the dashboard? 

We strive to keep the dashboard up to date and accurate. However, if you see an inaccuracy or have questions about the data, please get in touch: 

What’s next for the Tracker? 

We will continue to build out the Tracker, as well as expand to other districts. We welcome input on data we should be tracking.

This dashboard surfaces underlying data extracted from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ web pages and PDFs utilizing pattern recognition and large language models (LLMs). The entire code repository has been placed on GitHub for public access here: