30 December 2022 - Final WOTUS Rule
On 30 December 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army announced a final rule establishing a durable definition of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS). The rule was published in the Federal Register on 18 January 2023. The effective date of this rule is set for 20 March 2023.
In developing the rule, EPA and Army considered the text of the relevant provisions of the Clean Water Act and the statute as a whole, the scientific record, relevant Supreme Court case law, and the agencies' experience and technical expertise after more than 45 years of implementing the longstanding pre-2015 regulations defining "waters of the United States." The final rule advances the objective of the Clean Water Act and ensures critical protections for the nation's vital water resources, which support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth across the United States. The final rule is available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/01/18/2022-28595/revised-definition-of-waters-of-the-united-states. Additional information regarding the rule is available on EPA's website at https://www.epa.gov/wotus.
1 December 2022 – Release of the Interim Draft of the National Ordinary High Water Mark Field Delineation Manual for Rivers and Streams
Public Notice: https://www.usace.army.mil/Media/Announcements/Article/3233308/1-december-2022-release-of-the-interim-draft-of-the-national-ordinary-high-wate/
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and EPA (the Agencies) jointly announce the availability of the Interim Draft of the National Ordinary High Water Mark Field Delineation Manual for Rivers and Streams (National OHWM Manual) and its accompanying data sheet. The Interim Draft National OHWM Manual provides draft technical guidance for identifying and delineating the OHWM using a scientifically supported, rapid framework. The Agencies are requesting comments and feedback from the public and practitioners on the Interim Draft of the National OHWM Manual via the public notice linked below. Following the public comment period and additional field testing, comments and feedback received from the public and practitioners will be utilized to further refine the Interim Draft of the National OHWM Manual for clarity, consistency, and technical accuracy. The one-year testing and comment period ends on December 1, 2023. A final version of the National OHWM Manual is anticipated to be published during 2024.
During the period while the OHWM Manual is an interim draft, OHWM identification and/or delineation for official USACE Regulatory purposes should continue in accordance with the applicable OHWM definition in the Federal regulations, Regulatory Guidance Letter 05-05, and any applicable USACE district policies. However, USACE Regulatory staff are encouraged to test the Interim Draft of the National OHWM Manual and provide comments and feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.