Messerly Co-Authors Article for National Wetlands Newsletter

Successful compensatory wetland mitigation projects are critical for the biological and water quality health of our nation’s watersheds. In a recent article published in the National Wetlands Newsletter, Stream + Wetlands’ President Vince Messerly and Greg Snowden, biologist/project manager at The Davey Tree Expert Company, discuss the ecological performance of two adjacent wetland mitigation banks and the importance of designing mitigation and restoration projects toward natural reference standards. Click here to read the entire article.

EPA and USACE Propose “Waters of the U.S.” Definition

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers’ long-awaited proposed rule redefining “waters of the U.S.” was published on April 21 in the Federal Register. The agencies have provided a 90-day comment period on the proposed rule, with comments due on July 21. While the proposed rule is widely expected to be identical to the pre-publication version of the draft rule released on EPA’s website on March 25, 2014, Stream + Wetlands (formerly Ohio Wetlands Foundation) will be comparing both documents to identify and alert you to any substantive changes that may have occurred.

Gebhardt Named Surface Water Division Chief

Karl Gebhardt was recently named the new chief for the Division of Surface Water and deputy director of water resources by Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler. Gebhardt recently served as the ODNR deputy director and was the point person for water quality and water resource issues. Prior to that, he was chief of ODNR’s Division of Soil and Water Resources, where he provided leadership to expand on-the-ground conservation practices and develop legislation that would help in the efficient and effective delivery of conservation programs for nutrient management.

New Federal Rule Proposes to Expand Jurisdiction of the Federal Clean Water Act

On March 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. Over the next 90 days, the agencies are launching an outreach effort, holding discussions around the country and gathering input. The proposed rule clarifies protection for streams and wetlands. The proposed definitions of waters will apply to all Clean Water Act programs.

As Ohio currently has a robust isolated wetland permitting program (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 6111) already in place, this new ruling will not affect Ohio as much as it will states that do not currently have a strong permitting program. Stream + Wetlands Foundation will continue to monitor the status of this new ruling and will provide updates as necessary.