Efforts by the Trump administration are underway to roll back Clean Water Act protections for our nation’s streams and wetlands. The newly proposed rule to revise the definition of waters of the United States (WOTUS) aims to exclude many wetlands and headwater streams that are critical to fish, fisheries, and ecosystem services. In 2015, the EPA finalized a WOTUS rule that based Clean Water Act protections on the degree of connectivity between navigable waters, wetlands, and headwater streams. The 2015 rule was informed by the best scientific information available, but the new WOTUS rule proposes to eliminate protections for all ephemeral streams and wetlands that do not have a surface connection to, or touch, navigable waters, and opens the door to removing protections for intermittent streams. Activities such as mining, industry, and development could move forward in these waters without federal safeguards, thereby having far-reaching implications for fish, wildlife, and ecosystem functioning, as well as economies dependent on those systems.
Join us for an informative and timely webinar to learn more about the proposed WOTUS rule, the science that contradicts it, and how to submit an effective regulatory comment.
A 60-day public comment period on the proposed rule will commence upon publication in the Federal Register. We encourage AFS members to submit formal comments on the rule to highlight proposed impacts on a state-by-state basis. Visit the AFS website for more information.