For the second time in the last 4 years, and the seventh since the Clean Water Act was adopted in 1972, the federal government has revised the definition of the term “Waters of the United States” for the purposes of the federal Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule Tuesday with the new definition. Like each iteration before it, this one will have broad implications for public agencies and private property owners.
Some of that Bay Area tax voters approved for saving and restoring baylands is making its way back to Marin. In 2016, 73.5 percent of Marin voters endorsed a $12 annual parcel tax to create and fund the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, and the agency just awarded Marin a $520,000 grant to help design a project that would restore 85 to 155 acres of wetlands around Novato’s Deer Island.
The Trump administration is poised to roll back Clean Water Act protections on millions of acres of waterways and wetlands, including up to two-thirds of California’s inland streams, following through on a promise to agriculture interests and real estate developers to rewrite an Obama-era rule limiting pollution.
A proposal that federal officials said was intended to simplify federal water laws has instead been interpreted to do the opposite – and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is scrambling to defend itself to agriculture and other industries.
A recently completed inventory of tricolored blackbirds has found a steep drop in the birds’ spiraling population statewide, with scientists worrying that this year’s drought will lessen future populations.
“California’s Central Valley hosts millions of migrating shorebirds. It’s a critical stopping point on migration route that runs thousands of miles. But the drought could make it difficult for birds to find a haven.”
“The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today [April 24] they have signed a Record of Decision for a comprehensive, 30-year plan to restore and enhance Suisun Marsh, a critical part of the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta estuary ecosystem.”
From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):
“On April 21 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register the proposed rule revising the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ under the federal Clean Water Act. This formalizes the proposed changes released in draft form on March 25 and marks the beginning of a 90-day comment period that ends July 21, 2014.”
From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld today [April 22] announced nearly $5 million in EPA grants to state and local agencies to restore water quality and wetlands throughout the San Francisco Bay watershed at a ceremony held at Breuner Marsh (Richmond, Calif.)—one of the sites to receive federal restoration grant funding. The ceremony was attended by U.S.