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On April 21 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) jointly released a new proposed rule – Definition of Waters of the U.S. Under the Clean Water Act – that would amend the definition of “waters of the U.S.” and expand the range of waters that fall under federal jurisdiction. Counties could feel a major impact as more waters become federally protected and subject to new rules or standards.

Read NACo's analysis on how the proposed rule would impact counties​

 
The proposed rule would impact county-owned and maintained roadside ditches, flood control channels, drainage conveyances, stormwater systems, green infrastructure construction and maintenance.
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New Waters of the U.S. Proposed Rule
How Your County can be Proactive


 

Submit Comments to the Federal Register on the "Waters of the U.S."


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

Let Your Members of Congress Know


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

​Share these messages with your social media followers to raise awareness of the proposed rule, ask questions and propose recommendations


Make the Ask


Suspend current #WOTUS public comment period until the release of the @EPA Connectivity Report is issued www.naco.org/WOTUS​​



Raise Awareness


I​t's complicated: #Counties are both the regulators & regulated, new #WOTUS proposed rule has huge potential impact www.naco.org/WOTUS

New proposed #WOTUS rule would create huge burdens, challenges for #counties; many parts of rule ambiguous www.naco.org/WOTUS

Changes in the definition of #WOTUS will impact #county operations, increase cost & permitting time www.naco.org/WOTUS

Proposed #WOTUS rule brings more Qs than As--will significantly increase federal jurisdiction over CWA §404 www.naco.org/WOTUS

Many inadequately defined terms in new proposed #WOTUS rule w/major potential impacts to #counties www.naco.org/WOTUS

#Counties are proud to partner with Feds, states, @EPA & @USACEHQ to protect nation's #WOTUS resources www.naco.org/WOTUS

Proposed #WOTUS rule: More federal jurisdiction = tighter local regulations = another unfunded mandate for #counties www.naco.org/WOTUS


Ask Questions


​What will be protected under proposed #WOTUS rule that isn't currently protected now? @EPA @USACEHQ www.naco.org/WOTUS

Isn't it premature for @EPA @USACEHQ to propose #WOTUS rule before finalizing Connectivity Report? www.naco.org/WOTUS

Is there a way to balance enviro protection w/public safety needs to streamline CWA §404 permitting? @EPA @USACEHQ www.naco.org/WOTUS

How will proposed #WOTUS rule impact non-CWA water delivery systems? @EPA @USACEHQ www.naco.org/WOTUS

What are the limits to "connectivity" in new #WOTUS proposed rule? @EPA @USACEHQ www.naco.org/WOTUS

#Counties have overlap w/some sovereign tribal lands, will interconnected ditches be regulated? #WOTUS @EPA @USACEHQ www.naco.org/WOTUS

County Infrastructure Potentially Affected 

 

  • ​​​​​​Public Safety Water Conveyances: Roads and roadside ditches, flood control channels, drainage conveyances, culverts, etc.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.)
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  • Water Reuse and Infrastructure: Includes facilities built to generate additional water supply, their ponds, recharge basins, canals and ditches.​
 

Contact
 
 ​
Associate Legislative Director, Environment, Energy & Land Use​
202.942.4269