Volume 26, Number 9  ●  December 11, 2018

Waters of the U.S.: New Definition Proposed


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a press conference mid-day for the signing of the new proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) definition. The entirety of the proposed revision to WOTUS is on the EPA website.  This is the second step in the implementation of an Executive Order directing EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review and revise the WOTUS rule.

This proposed rule reduces the amount of stream and wetlands that will be Federally regulated, but not the extent of state regulatory authority. Under the proposed new definition, ephemeral streams and wetlands that are not touching or connected by surface flow to a stream, river, or tidal waters would no longer be WOTUS (i.e., the definition of adjacent wetlands has changed).  However, the actual definition of wetlands has not changed – so the complexity of wetland delineations will continue.

Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. will monitor this process and will analyze the changes that may impact your projects.  If you have questions about this proposed definition or the 2015 Rule, please contact Mike Rolband, Mark Headly, Ben Rosner, Christie Blevins, or Bob Kerr in Virginia, or Mike Klebasko in Maryland.

You can read about WOTUS definition changes in our previous Field Notes articles:

- WOTUS Definition in Limbo – EPA Delays Return to Pre-2015 Definition, November 8, 2018

- Federal Ruling Creates Delay in Corps of Engineers Process, August 23, 2018

- 6th Circuit Court Vacates WOTUS Rule Stay, April 11, 2018
(Reprinted with permission from the National Association of Home Builders. This article originally appeared in the February 28, 2018 edition of NAHB Now.)

- WOTUS 2020 - EPA and Department of the Army Delay Clean Water Rule of 2015, February 23, 2018

- A Graphic Description of WOTUS - Wetlandia, July 9, 2015

- EPA and COE Redefine Which Wetlands and Streams are Federally Regulated, June 2, 2015

Check out past issues in the Field Notes Archive.

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