Supreme Court Rules that District Courts Have Jurisdiction over WOTUS Rule Litigation

On Jan. 22, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision regarding which federal courts have jurisdiction to hear challenges to the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The WOTUS rule, which defines the scope of waters protected under the federal Clean Water Act, is a joint rulemaking by the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Supreme Court found that appeals of this rule must be brought in to the federal district courts rather than circuit courts ─ a decision that will finally allow litigation over the rule to move forward.

“The real concern we have with the delay of an update to the WOTUS definition is that the uncertainties associated with the existing regulations will continue to cause unnecessary confusion for permit applicants,” said Vince Messerly, President of Stream + Wetlands Foundation.  “Hopefully, a reasonable WOTUS definition can be achieved soon to help improve predictability for permit applicants and the regulatory agencies.”

To find out more about this recent ruling and its implications on the WOTUS rule, click here.

James To Head Army Corps of Engineers

R.D. James, a Kentucky native has been confirmed as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (Head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). In his new role, James will establish policy direction and provide supervision of the Department of the Army functions relating to all aspects of the civil works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Read this article for more information about Mr. James.

Messerly to moderate session at NMEBC conference

The National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference (NMEBC) brings members together to advance and protect the environment in a financially sustainable way. This year’s conference is scheduled for May 8-11 in Louisville, Kentucky. Stream + Wetlands’ President Vince Messerly will be serving as the moderator for Session 6 of the conference on Thursday, May 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.  The session, titled “The Farmer, Rancher & Banking” will include the following topics and speakers:

NRCS Wetland Mitigation Banking Program Current Status, Lessons Learned

Shaun T. Vickers, National Wetland Mitigation Specialist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA, Lincoln, Neb.

 Middle-Platte Rainwater Basin Agricultural Mitigation Bank: One Year Later

Karen Caddis, Conservation Planner, Westervelt Ecological Services, Centennial, Colo.

 How Mitigation Banking Became the Lifeblood of Our Farm

Drausin F. Wulsin, Manager, Red Stone Farm, LLC, Hillsboro, OH and Jacob Bartley, Owner, Plum Hill Ecological Services, LLC, Covington, Ky.

For more information, visit the NMEBC website.


Sustainability and climate change focus of lecture series

Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Everglades Wetland Research Park in Naples will begin its sixth annual “Moonlight on the Marsh” Distinguished Lecture Series. The free lectures, which begin on Jan. 18 and run through March 15, will explore timely topics including climate change, coastal sustainability and Southwest Florida mangroves and will include five preeminent national and international speakers. Dr. William J. Mitsch, eminent scholar, director of the Everglades Wetland Research Park and friend of the Stream + Wetlands Foundation calls this year’s series “one of our most complete, from top to bottom.”

For more information about this lecture series, visit the FGCU website.