CSAC Bulletin Article

Federal Waters of the United States Comment Deadline On April 15

April 11, 2019

The Federal Government deadline for taking comments to its proposed update to the Waters of the United States Regulations is April 15th. The proposed rule would redefine the scope of waters that are to be federally regulated under the Clean Water Act. This new proposal could impact a variety of county public works operations including flood control, solid waste and transportation. 

The agencies’ proposal marks the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of WOTUS consistent with the president’s 2017 Executive Order entitled “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” 

CSAC and our federal government lobbying team have been actively engaged in this rulemaking and have provided several remainders of the comment deadline over the past few months to the County Engineers Association of California.  

Specifically, the proposed rule outlines six categories of waters that would be subject to federal regulatory jurisdiction:

  • Traditional Navigable Waters (TNWs) – i.e., large rivers and lakes, tidal waters, territorial seas.
  • Tributaries – rivers and streams that flow to TNWs (must be perennial or intermittent, not ephemeral features).
  • Certain Ditches – defined as an “artificial channel used to convey water.”  Ditches would be jurisdictional where they are TNWs or subject to the ebb and flow of the tide.  Ditches also may be jurisdictional where they satisfy conditions of the proposed tributary definition and either 1) were constructed in a tributary or 2) were built in adjacent wetlands.
  • Certain lakes and ponds – would be jurisdictional where they are TNWs, contribute perennial or intermittent flow to a TNW either directly or through other non-jurisdictional surface waters (as long as those waters convey perennial or intermittent flow downstream), or are flooded by a WOTUS in a typical year.
  • Impoundments
  • Adjacent Wetlands – i.e., wetlands that physically touch other jurisdictional waters would be considered “adjacent wetlands.”  The proposal also imposes other conditions whereby an adjacent wetland would be considered a WOTUS.

Please see this fact sheet for more information.

For more information on how to comment please visit: https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/proposed-revised-definition-wotus-factsheets 

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