The US EPA has released a proposed rule redefining Water of the US (WOTUS) that would, among other things, remove intermittent and ephemeral headwater streams and non-adjacent wetlands from protection under the Clean Water Act, a change from protections proposed for these waters in 2015.
The Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies, of which SFS is a member society, released a statement that notes:
More than a half century of scientific research has unequivocally demonstrated that the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of “traditionally navigable” waters fundamentally depend on ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial headwater streams, as well as the myriad associated lakes, wetlands, and off-channel habitats.
The full statement can be read here.
The new proposed rule will be officially released in the federal register and there will be 60 days for comment. The Society for Freshwater Science, Science and Policy Committee is currently working on a comment letter from the Society to be signed by the President.
In the meantime, members are encouraged to write their own letters. For more information on the rule and where to post comments, go to: https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/step-two-revise.
Docket number (once published in national register): EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149
The pre-publication version is currently available at: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-12/documents/wotus_2040-...
SFS will provide more information for members in coming weeks.