3 September 2021 – Current Implementation of Waters of the United States
The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the agencies) are in receipt of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona’s August 30, 2021, order vacating and remanding the Navigable Waters Protection Rule in the case of Pascua Yaqui Tribe v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In light of this order, the agencies have halted implementation of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule and are interpreting “waters of the United States” consistent with the pre-2015 regulatory regime until further notice. The agencies continue to review the order and consider next steps. This includes working expeditiously to move forward with the rulemakings announced on June 9, 2021, in order to better protect our nation’s vital water resources that support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth. The agencies remain committed to crafting a durable definition of “waters of the United States” that is informed by diverse perspectives and based on an inclusive foundation. Additional information is available on EPA’s website at: https://www.epa.gov/wotus/current-implementation-waters-united-states.
30 July 2021 – EPA and Army Announce Next Steps for Crafting Enduring Definition of Waters of the United States
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) have announced plans for upcoming community engagements to inform their efforts to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). EPA and Army have stated a commitment to developing a reasonable, effective, and durable definition of WOTUS that protects public health, the environment, and downstream communities while supporting economic opportunity, agriculture, and other industries.
EPA and Army are announcing a series of engagement opportunities, including an opportunity for stakeholders and the public to provide written recommendations and a series of public meetings in August to hear perspectives on the rulemaking. In addition, the agencies are initiating Federalism and Tribal consultations for the foundational rule. The agencies also intend to host a series of dialogues with state and Tribal co-regulators this fall to discuss both rulemakings.
The full announcement can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-and-army-announce-next-steps-crafting-enduring-definition-waters-united-states.
For more information on submitting written recommendations or to register for the public meetings, see www.epa.gov/wotus.
22 Jun 2020 – Navigable Waters Protection Rule becomes effective
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR): Definition of “Waters of the United States” became effective on June 22, 2020 in 49 states and all US territories. A preliminary injunction has been granted for the state of Colorado. Federal jurisdiction in Colorado will be determined using the 2019 Rule (the recodification of the 1986 Regulations) and associated 2003/2008 (SWANCC/Rapanos) guidance documents. The NWPR establishes the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. The NWPR includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters and provides specific exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated. The Federal Register notice is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/21/2020-02500/the-navigable-waters-protection-rule-definition-of-waters-of-the-united-states. Additional information about the rule can be found on the EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/nwpr.
18 May 2020 - Army Publish 2018 National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) in Federal Register
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), as part of an interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is announcing the availability of the final 2018 National Wetland Plant List (NWPL). The Federal Register Notice for the 2018 NWPL update can be found here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-05-18/pdf/2020-10630.pdf.
The NWPL provides plant species indicator status ratings, which are used in determining whether the hydrophytic vegetation factor is met when conducting wetland delineations under the Clean Water Act and wetland determinations under the Wetland Conservation Provisions of the Food Security Act. Other applications of the NWPL include wetland restoration, establishment, and enhancement projects. The list is effective as of May 18, 2020 and will be used in any wetland delineations performed after this date. Completed wetland delineation/determination forms should reference the version of the NWPL used to complete the form. The final NWPL is available at http://wetland-plants.usace.army.mil/. State, regional, and national lists can also be downloaded from this site.
21 April 2020 - EPA and Army Publish Definition of WOTUS in Federal Register
On April 21, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” was published in the Federal Register. This final rule establishes the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters and provides specific exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated. The final rule will become effective on June 22, 2020.
The published version is 93 pages, and the citation is: 85 FR 22250. The Federal Register notice is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/21/2020-02500/the-navigable-waters-protection-rule-definition-of-waters-of-the-united-states . Additional information about the rule can be found on the EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/nwpr .
Corps Headquarters has posted an announcement for the publication of the rule on our Regulatory webpage, at the following locations:
18 March 2020 - COVID-19 Updates for SWL Regulatory Division
Effective immediately, the Little Rock District Regulatory Division Offices, including our satellite offices in Walnut Ridge, at the Beaver Lake Project Office, and at the Table Rock Project Office, are closed to the public to help reduce the risk to our employees and to minimize exposure of personnel, Tribes, federal, state, and local stakeholders, and the public. Regulatory Division employees are maximizing the use of telework. You can continue to reach the Regulatory Division staff via phone at 501-324-5295, 501-340-1371, or the employees assigned telephone number, or by email CESWL-Regulatory@usace.army.mil.
Regulatory personnel will maximize the use of virtual engagement methods such as using online meeting/collaboration tools, webinars, teleconference, social media, email, regular mail, or other alternative methods.