Waters of the United States

Latest Updates  & Resources

September 1, 2015 Counties respond to court decision to temporarily block "Waters" rule
June 3, 2015 NACo releases comparison chart on final "Waters of the U.S." rule
May 27, 2015 NACo statement on "Waters of the U.S." rule
April 30, 2015 NACo, mayors, cities and regions support House and Senate efforts to protect ​WOTUS
April 13, 2015 NACo Supports House Bill to Withdraw, Improve WOTUS Proposal
March 24, 2015 NACo Reaffirms Local Concern About WOTUS Proposal
March 24, 2015 Commissioner Lynn Padgett testifies before Senate Ag Committee on WOTUS Proposed Rule
March 17, 2015 Commissioner Pete Smeltz testifies before House Subcommittee on WOTUS Proposed Rule
February 11, 2015 NACo Testifies Before Rare Joint Senate & House Hearing on WOTUS Proposed Rule
November 14, 2014 Joint WOTUS Comment Letter - USCMNLCNARCNACEAPWA, and NAFSMA
November 14, 2014 NACo's WOTUS Comments to EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
November 14, 2014 NACo Urges Feds to Withdraw and Clarify "Waters of the U.S." Proposal

On May 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) finalized their Definition of Waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act.

Since its proposal last year, NACo has expressed multiple concerns on the rule's impact on county-owned and maintained roadside ditches, flood control channels, drainage conveyances and wastewater and stormwater systems.

County Infrastructure Potentially Affected 

  • ​​​​​​Public Safety Water Conveyances: Roads and roadside ditches, flood control channels, drainage conveyances, culverts, etc.
  • Stormwater Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4): Comprised of channels, ditches and pipes
  • Green Infrastructure Construction and Maintenance Projects: Includes, but not limited to low-impact development projects (LID), bioswales, vegetative buffers, constructed wetlands, stormwater detention ponds, etc.
  • Drinking Water Facilities and Infrastructure (not designed to meet CWA requirements): Reservoirs, dams, ponds, canals, large water transport systems (Central Arizona Project, California Aqueduct, Colorado River Aqueduct, etc.)
  • Water Reuse and Infrastructure: Includes facilities built to generate additional water supply, their ponds, recharge basins, canals and ditches.
Get Resources

EPA and Corps Documents

NACo Resources

NACo Letters on "Waters of the U.S"

Other Resources

October 12, 2014Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA) writes in the ​Daily Progress on the need to ditch the proposed WOTUS rule.
​October 7, 2014Sen. Donnelly (D-IN) to EPA and Army Corps: Clarify Proposed WOTUS Rule
​October 6, 2014 ​EPA and Army Corps of Engineers announce WOTUS comment period extended from October 20, 2014 to November 14, 2014.
​​September 24, 2014Letter: EPA's 'Water' Fix Would Create Confusion​
September 9, 2014​NACo letter to House Transportation + Infrastructure Committee in support of H.R. 5078​
​August 18, 2014Proposal on Federally Protected Water Sparks Local Opposition
August 16, 2014​EPA's proposed definition change concerns county, Thune
July 8, 2014​ Op-Ed by NACo 1st VP Sallie Clark: "Proposed Waters of U.S. Rule Would Drown Counties in Red Tape​​"
June 11, 2014​​ ​NACo Testifies on "Waters of the U.S." Proposed Rule​​​

Take Action

Submit an Op-Ed or Editorial to Your Local Media Outlet​

Educate Your Member of Congress

Pass a County Resolution on "Waters of the U.S."

Submit Pictures and Maps to NACo​

​ NACo needs pictures, examples and maps of county-impacted infrastructure. Please send the following information, if available, to NACo Associate Legislative Director Julie Ufner​. ​​​
  • Currently regulated, county-owned roadside ditches and flood-control channels
  • Non-regulated ditches, channels and stormwater conveyances
  • Green Infrastructure projects and brief explanations
  • GIS maps/layers showing county public infrastructure ditch systems in relation to uplands and wetlands areas