Category: Uncategorized

On Thursday, Sept. 12, the EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers signed a pre-publication version of the repeal of the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Definition. The 2015 WOTUS definition was adopted during the Obama administration and was immediately challenged in multiple district courts. Because some of the court’s that considered initial challenges to the WOTUS rule enjoined its use in those districts, the 2015 definition is currently used in only 22 states as well as in the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories. Meanwhile, in 27 states the pre-2015 WOTUS definition was still in effect (it was unclear which version was applicable in New Mexico). Once published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks, the entire country will once again be subject to the same definition of “waters of the United States”.

The WOTUS definition was first adopted in 1986 and revised in 1988. Since then there have been numerous court cases and subsequent regulatory guidance letters issued by the Corps and EPA in an effort to help reduce confusion and uncertainties for the regulated community and regulatory agency personnel. Due to regulatory uncertainties it is important for the WOTUS definition to be resolved. The Supreme Court in a number of its prior rulings has encouraged the Corps and EPA to clarify the WOTUS definition through the rule making process rather than through the issuance of additional guidance.

The repeal rule will be published in the Federal Register during the next couple of weeks and will become effective 60 days after publication. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said they are targeting late 2019 for a separate rule that will establish new standards for the replacement WOTUS definition. The new standards were set forth in a proposed rule issued in the Federal Register on February 14, 2019.

Stream + Wetlands Foundation (S+W) continues to monitor the activities surrounding the WOTUS rule development. S+W believes it is important for EPA and USACE to resolve this longstanding problem soon. We believe that a better WOTUS definition would be beneficial to the environment and the regulated community. A comprise on the WOTUS definition should be followed with revisions to the permitting programs. There are far too many inefficiencies in the permitting programs that result in lost time and money by the regulatory agencies and permit applicants. An improved regulatory program could reduce the time and expense born by agencies and applicants. The time and funds wasted on the inefficient permitting program should then be directed towards improving environmental outcomes in the permitting process.

Category: Uncategorized

Managing our Water in a Changing World: from Social, Environmental, and Policy Perspectives” is the theme of Ohio University’s Ohio River Basin Consortium for Research and Education – Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBCRE-ORBA) Symposium which will take place Oct. 2-4, 2019.

Interested in presenting? If so, please submit a one-page abstract to Danny Che, assistant professor of civil engineering at che@ohio.edu, and indicate whether it will be a poster or a 20-minute oral presentation. For more information, please visit their website.

Category: Uncategorized

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs is accepting applications for a graduate student assistantship funded by the Stream and Wetlands Foundation that will support students engaged in interdisciplinary and applied research opportunities.

Full-time, degree-seeking graduate students enrolled in or accepted for admission to an Ohio University graduate program appropriate to studying applied stream and wetland restoration science, education, or policy may apply for an assistantship. For the assistantship opportunity, funding includes graduate stipends and some research project costs. Duration of support ranges from one semester to two years (2020-2022), depending on the needs and progress of the student.

Find out more details by visiting the Voinovich School website here. https://tinyurl.com/y3haadyj

Category: Uncategorized

Botanist and Wetland Ecologist Timothy L. Walters, Ph.D., announces the return of a sedge/grass/rush workshop. The 4-day course will be held August, 20-23, 2019 in northwestern Ohio. The workshop combines both field identification and in-class keying of specimens (no previous experience required). About 40 percent of the species will be sedges (primarily non-Carex), while about 50 percent will be grasses and the last 10% will be rushes. For more details, visit the website http://carexclasses.webs.com.

Category: Uncategorized

The EPA and Department of the Army are moving forward proposing a new definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), publishing an official rule in the Federal Register on Feb. 14. This is the second in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of WOTUS.

On Feb. 27 and 28, the EPA and Army will be holding a public hearing on the proposed WOTUS rule at the Reardon Convention Center in Kansas City, Kansas. For more details about the public hearing, visit the EPA website.

Stream + Wetlands Foundation continues to monitor all activities surrounding the WOTUS rule development. We are hopeful a reasonable WOTUS definition can be achieved soon to help improve predictability for permit applicants and the regulatory agencies.

Category: Uncategorized

On Jan. 6, outdoor enthusiasts took advantage of the warm weather to observe a great horned owl at Sandy Ridge Reservation in North Ridgeville, Ohio. The Stream + Wetlands Foundation is proud to have established Sandy Ridge Wetlands Mitigation Bank at this park site in 1997. The park opened to the public in 1999 and since that time, it has become very popular with the community as a great location to observe wildlife, including many bird species. Find out more about the recent  owl sightings at Sandy Ridge Reservation by reading this article in The Morning Journal.

Category: Uncategorized

On Friday, December 14, a new four-lane, divided highway around the City of Portsmouth, Ohio opened to drivers. This 16-mile stretch of highway connects U.S. 52 near Wheelersburg, West Virginia to U.S. 23 near Lucasville, Ohio. The Stream + Wetlands Foundation is proud to be part of this important project. S + W teamed with Wetlands Resource Center (WRC) and provided the compensatory mitigation for stream impacts associated with the project. In all, four mitigation sites in Scioto County were utilized to fulfill the stream mitigation needs. These sites permanently protected more than 900 acres which included protection, restoration and/or enhancement for more than 72,000 feet of streams.

Category: Uncategorized

Stream + Wetlands is a proud partner with Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs which advances student research in watershed and wetlands programs. In addition to expanded research, our partnership enables the school to increase its academic support of the Master of Science in Environmental Studies and other programs with applied watershed and wetlands projects.

The Voinovich School is currently accepting applications for an Assistantship position to progress stream and wetlands research. The applicant must be a full-time, degree-seeking graduate student enrolled in or accepted for admission to an Ohio University graduate program appropriate to studying applied stream and wetland restoration science, education, or policy. For more detailed information about this assistantship position, download the flyer or go online at www.ohio.edu/environmentalstudies.

 

Category: Uncategorized

In conjunction with American Wetlands Month and the 2017 National Wetlands Awards ceremony, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) held a public seminar (and corresponding webinar), “The State of Compensatory Mitigation,” on May 18 in Washington, D.C. Stream + Wetlands President Vince Messerly was one of the panelists in the discussion about the future of the mitigation industry. From state in lieu fee programs to private and nonprofit mitigation banks, panelists discussed future prospects, challenges faced and what it means for wetlands protection. As a follow-up to the panel discussion, NAHBNow published a blog featuring Messerly’s views on the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, including how it may affect wetlands mitigation banks. Click here to read the blog.

Category: Uncategorized

The listing of the rusty patched bumble bee (RPBB) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) became effective on March 21, 2017. With this ruling, the RPBB became the first bumblebee – and the first bee overall in the continental United States — to be listed under the ESA.

The RPBB was very common 20 years ago, however, by the early 2000s, the RPBB was decidedly less visible and over the past two decades, the RPBB has declined in nearly 90 percent of its range. The list of suspected causes for the disappearance includes farm pesticides, household herbicides, human development over bee habitat, disease and climate change.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is still developing a recovery plan to guide efforts to bring this species back to what they believe is a healthy condition, but an endangered designation triggers protections such as regulations against knowingly destroying the bumblebee’s habitat and habitat creation. It also raises awareness about the plight of the bumblebee and requires a detailed, long-term recovery plan to restore its population.

 

Return of Sedge/Grass/Rush Workshop

Botanist and Wetland Ecologist Timothy L. Walters, Ph.D., announces the return of a sedge/grass/rush workshop. The 4-day course will be held August, 20-23, 2019 in northwestern Ohio. The workshop combines both

WOTUS Rule Update

The EPA and Department of the Army are moving forward proposing a new definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), publishing an official rule in the Federal Register

Locals search for owls at Sandy Ridge

On Jan. 6, outdoor enthusiasts took advantage of the warm weather to observe a great horned owl at Sandy Ridge Reservation in North Ridgeville, Ohio. The Stream + Wetlands Foundation

Portsmouth Bypass Opens To Traffic

On Friday, December 14, a new four-lane, divided highway around the City of Portsmouth, Ohio opened to drivers. This 16-mile stretch of highway connects U.S. 52 near Wheelersburg, West Virginia

NAHBNow blog features Messerly and WOTUS rule

In conjunction with American Wetlands Month and the 2017 National Wetlands Awards ceremony, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) held a public seminar (and corresponding webinar), “The State of Compensatory Mitigation,”