PHOENIX — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army released the Navigable Waters Protection Rule Jan. 23. The rule provides a new and final definition for Waters of the United States.
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Misael Cabrera hosted EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Deputy Commander Col. Daryll Fust and Rep. Paul Gosar.
"With the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, we are bringing clarity once and for all to American farmers, landowners and businesses," Stoker said. "We are rebalancing the relationship between the federal government and the states and tribes in managing land and water resources by outlining an approach that together with existing state and tribal regulations and local land use programs provide a network of coverage for our nation's water resources as called for in the Clean Water Act."
The mission of the USACE Regulatory Program is to protect the nation’s aquatic resources and navigable capacity while allowing economic development through fair and balanced decisions.
"As with previous policy changes, our team will work closely with stakeholders," Fust said. "There is much to do with our EPA counterparts, states, local governments, industry partners and organizations, tribes, and the general public to educate and inform them about the implementation of this new rule."
The revised definition identifies four clear categories of waters that are federally regulated under the Clean Water Act: the territorial seas and traditional navigable waters; perennial and intermittent tributaries to those waters; certain lakes, ponds, and impoundments; and wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters.
"The final rule also details what is not waters of the United States," Stoker said. "Features that only contain water in direct response to rainfall; ground water; ditches including most farm ditches; farm and stock watering ponds; waste treatment systems and prior converted crop land."
For more on the Navigable Waters Protection Rule visit www.epa.gov/nwpr.