CSAC Bulletin Article

California State Water Board Passes New Waters of the State Rule

April 11, 2019

On April 2, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted an updated version Waters of the State regulation. These regulations define the scope of protected waters of the state and how to interact with these protected water bodies and wetlands.

The State Water Board is in part promulgating these broader regulations as a reaction to rollbacks of the Waters of the United States regulations taking place under the new federal administration. The new regulations will impact what types of permits county public works departments are required to have prior to engaging in a variety of transportation, solid waste, or flood control construction projects.

CSAC and our partners at the County Engineers Association of California (CEAC) had been actively engaged in this rulemaking for the past several months and supported a streamlined and consistent regulatory process that protects the State’s wetlands resources while providing regulatory certainty for public agencies and private property owners.

 CSAC and CEAC joined a coalition of the water agencies to influence the Board’s final adopted rule. The coalition was successful in obtaining an exclusion from the regulations for public agencies for routine maintenance and emergency operations with certain limitations. The coalition also advocated for permit streamlining for future flood control facilities and for provisions that allowed for less than a 1:1 ratio of mitigation offsets if the project being mitigated provides increased environmental benefits on site. These two requests were not included in the final rule, however CSAC will continue to advocate for these improvements as the new state regulations move from adoption to implementation.

CSAC urges county public works department to track their interactions while will obtaining these permits and their associated costs. CSAC AENR staff will continue to work closely with our partners at CEAC on the implementation of this updated rule. Click here to view CSAC’s final letter to the State Water Board regarding this rulemaking.  If you have any questions about the Water of the State please feel free to contact Nick Cronenwett at ncronenwett@counites.org.

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