Waters of the United States Ruling Update
On August 28, 2015 the rules defining the "Waters of the United States" will be changed. After years of scientific study, the Army Corps will be changing the definition to include both tributaries and adjacent waters. “The final ruling more precisely defines ‘tributaries’ as waters that are characterized by the presence of physical indicators of flow—bed and banks and ordinary high water mark—and that contribute flow directly or indirectly to a traditional navigable water, an interstate water, or the territorial seas,” as reported in the Federal Register, Vol. 80, No. 124. “Under this final ruling, ‘adjacent’ means bordering, contiguous, or neighboring, including waters separated from other ‘waters of the United States’ by constructed dikes or barriers, natural river berms, beach dunes and the like.” The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the new definition of “Waters of the United States” will impound approximately 1500 acres of existing property which will now require Army Corps permits. Some other agencies approximate a higher acreage. Obtaining an Army Corps permit requires additional permitting steps, requires additional engineering and ecological analysis, and lengthens the overall permitting process for developments. In the Chicagoland area, we estimate that obtaining an Army Corps permit can take between 6 to 9 months. Therefore upcoming projects on properties with bodies of water, will have to be analyzed appropriately, and the proper steps must be made to determine whether or not the bodies of water will now be considered “Waters of the United States”.
by Todd Abrams
For questions regarding this final rule, contact Todd at email@example.com