Water Board Proposed Dredge and Fill Procedures: County Concerns
August 18, 2016
California Counties remain concerned over the State Water Resources Control Board Proposed Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Materials to Waters of the State. This week, CSAC and Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) submitted a joint comment letter that details the issues we’re concerned about.The CSAC and RCRC comment letter may be viewed here.
The Proposed Procedures aim to: (1) strengthen protections for waters of the state that are no longer protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA) due to U.S. Supreme Court decisions; (2) ensure consistency across the Water Boards relative to their decisions affecting dredge and fill activities; and (3) prevent losses in the quality and quality of wetlands in California.
The CSAC and RCRC comments on the Proposed Procedures reflect the substantive feedback received from county public works officials. The letter notes an overarching concern that many of the new requirements will be unnecessarily duplicative of, or largely overlap existing permitting requirements, including the federal Clean Water Act § 404 program and the California Fish and Wildlife Lake and Streambed Alteration program.
We also express concern that the Proposed Procedures will result in substantial uncertainty for applicants, increase the potential for litigation over proposed projects, impose significant costs without attendant environmental benefit, and provide no assurance for timely project approval which is of particular importance to those counties that have a narrow window to complete projects.