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Fact Sheet

April 2011

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Guidance Clarifying the Scope of Clean Water Act Regulations

On April 27, 2011, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) issued proposed guidance which will clarify whether particular waters are regulated under the Clean Water Act and provide certainty for farmers, developers and others. The new guidance does not expand federal jurisdiction beyond existing regulations of the waters of the U.S.

EPA believes that protection of Midwest wetlands and streams is more important than ever as we experience more pronounced effects from flooding, climate change, and habitat loss. We are fortunate to have a vast network of wetlands and streams in the Midwest that support the great Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. We are blessed with a great diversity of lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and wetlands: from small prairie potholes in Iowa to swamps in the Missouri Bootheel; from salt lakes to Lake of the Ozarks; and from small seasonal streams to the largest river in the country.

We are committed to a transparent process for developing this guidance, including the opportunity for public comment, which will be considered as the agencies finalize the guidance in 2011.

A 60-day public comment period on the proposed guidance begins April 27, 2011. EPA will consider written public comments in reaching its final decision on the guidance.


Our wetlands, rivers and streams provide significant benefit to local communities by:

This new guidance does not change any of the existing agriculture exemptions under the Clean Water Act. All of the Act's exemptions from permitting requirements for normal agriculture, forestry and ranching practices continue to apply:

The guidance also clearly describes waters not regulated under the Act, including the following water bodies, which often are associated with agricultural activities:


Midwestern waters are crucially important to our way of life. They:

For more information:  https://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/CWAwaters.cfm

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