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EPA Finalizes Streams/Wetlands Connectivity Report

Posted Thursday, January 15th, 2015

On January 15, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published notice of availability in the Federal Register of its final report, “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence.”

The purpose of the report is to summarize peer-reviewed existing information “about the connectivity and mechanisms by which streams and wetlands, singly or in aggregate, affect the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of downstream waters,” addressing three main topics: (1) physical, chemical, and biological connections to, and effects of, ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial stream on downstream waters; (2) physical, chemical, and biological connections to, and effects of, riparian or floodplain wetlands and open-waters on downstream waters; and (3) physical, chemical, and biological connections to, and effects of, “other” wetlands and open-waters on downstream waters.

The draft version of the report, published in September 2013, was used to support the proposed waters of the United States (WOTUS) rulemaking, which has been roundly criticized as extremely broad. EPA had promised not to finalize the rule until the report was final, and the report is now final. EPA has indicated an intent to release the final rule in spring 2015.

A copy of the Federal Register notice is available here.

For additional information contact Susan Stephens.

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