Public Comment Period Ahead of WOTUS Rulemaking

On July 30, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) announced their intention to gather stakeholder input ahead of a rulemaking process to define Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). The agencies are soliciting public comment via submission of written comments through September 3, 2021, and hosting public meetings in August.

The agencies are planning to take on two rulemakings, the first being development of “a foundational rule to restore longstanding protections, and a second rulemaking process that builds on that regulatory foundation. The forthcoming foundational rule will propose to restore the regulations defining “Waters of the United States” that were in place for decades until 2015, with updates to be consistent with relevant Supreme Court decisions. The agencies will also pursue a separate, second rulemaking process that further refines and builds upon that regulatory foundation.”

The definition of Waters of the U.S., which includes wetlands like this cypress swamp, is slated for another rulemaking.

While the public meetings scheduled for August 18 and 23 are at capacity; as of publication there is space available in the August 25, 26, and 31 meetings, and an additional meeting could be scheduled for September 2 to provide an additional public meeting opportunity. To register for a meeting or to submit written comments, please use the links available on the EPA’s WOTUS public outreach webpage.

This step is the latest in the re-definition of WOTUS that has included the Clean Water Rule in 2015, the subsequent Navigable Waters Protection Rule, and a number of related lawsuits and federal court decisions. Our collection of related articles from 2015 to the present is provided below with links.

We will continue to follow this process, and will provide updates in subsequent issues of Field Notes.

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


  • Ben Rosner

    Gainesville, VA

  • Bob Kerr

    Virginia Beach, VA

  • Mike Klebasko

    Millersville, MD