On March 25, the US Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule to clarify Clean Water Act jurisdiction over streams and wetlands by re-defining “Waters of the United States” in light of a series of Supreme Court decisions wrestling with the issue of whether a particular water body (e.g., “isolated wetlands,” man-made ditches and the like) were subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.

The proposed rule seeks to clarify regulation over upstream waters and to increase efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act (“jurisdictional determinations”). A public comment period will run for 90 days following publication of the proposed rule.

Under the proposed rule, most seasonal and rain-dependent streams, and wetlands near rivers and streams will be protected. Jurisdiction over other types of waters be evaluated by a case specific analysis of whether the connection is or is not significant, and constituents now have opportunity to comment on the Act’s application to geographically unique waters, and to recommend the addition of categories of waters that should be regulated without case specific analysis.

For a copy of the proposed rule and other information, please visit the Environmental Protection Agency.