As several recent court cases have illustrated, there is still much debate over just how far the reach of the Clean Water Act extends. EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers are attempting to clarify the issue; they have released a draft report titled “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of Scientific Evidence,” compiled from recent scientific literature. They will use the report in a rulemaking session in December. A goal of the upcoming rule is to clarify which waters are not subject to CWA jurisdiction and which activities do not require CWA permits. The proposed rule does not change existing agricultural exemptions.
As we mentioned on the Stormwater site last week, the two agencies are seeking public comments on the report. They have already submitted a draft rule to the Office of Management and Budget based on the report, but they say they consider public comments before finalizing that rule. Comments must be received by November 6.
The report’s three broad conclusions, as summarized by EPA, are
* Streams—both permanent and ephemeral, and of all sizes—are connected and have effects on downstream waters.
* Wetlands within stream floodplains are integrated with steams and rivers and strongly influence downstream waters by affecting flow and trapping pollutants.
* Not enough information exists to generalize about wetlands and other open waters outside riparian floodplains and their effects on downstream waters.
You can find more information and a link to download the draft report here.
StormCon Abstract Deadline Is November 14
StormCon, the North American Surface Water Quality Conference and Exposition, is now seeking abstracts for presentations at StormCon 2014. The conference will take place August 3 – 7, 2014, in Portland, OR. Abstracts are due November 14, 2013.
We are seeking abstracts in seven conference tracks:
* BMP Case Studies
* Green Infrastructure
* Stormwater Program Management
* Water-Quality Monitoring
* Industrial Stormwater Management
* Advanced Research Topics
* Coastal Protection
More information on the conference and the individual tracks is available at www.StormCon.com, along with an online abstract submittal form.