The US EPA recently proposed a revision to the definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) that would remove federal protection from ephemeral streams – temporary streams that form after rainfall – and wetlands that are not connected to other waterways by surface flow. This means that thousands of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands would no longer be protected. Visit the Society of Freshwater Science's website to learn more.
The Watershed Action Team does not support the proposed revisions to WOTUS. The team finds them to be arbitrary as they are without sound scientific foundation and a gross oversimplification of a very complex issue. Further, the revision has no comparable literature review like that used to inform the previous version, ignores the recommendation of the EPA Scientific Advisory Board and makes it impossible to achieve the objectives of the Clean Water Act. GUWAT recommends retaining the 2015 rule as written. Read the full statement released by the team here.
You can join WAT and act today to protect our waters by doing one or more of the following:
1. Write a comment letter to the US EPA
2. Spread the word on social media and encourage others to take a stand
3. Contact your elected officials
Use these key talking points to spread the word:
- Briefly, the rule change would remove protection from ephemeral streams as well as from wetlands that are not connected to other waterways by surface flow. https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/step-two-revise
- Headwaters (including ephemeral streams) make up 79% of the total length of rivers in the US and drain more than 70% of our land area (Colvin et al 2019).
- This rule change is arbitrary and not based on the best available science, such as the EPA’s own review of over 1,200 peer-reviewed studies (USEPA 2015).
Submitting a Comment
Visit the EPA website and submit your comment by April 15 at 11:59 PM. Enter text in the comment box and make sure comments meet the 5000 character limit. You can also attach a PDF file to your comment. Next click the continue button at the bottom of the page and follow the remaining instructions.
- Include your name and credentials
- Be clear and specific and use scientifically-sound arguments
- Provide citations if able
- Point out that decisions not based on science are arbitrary and unsound
- Don’t use profanity or personal/political attacks
You may use the letter submitted by the WAT as a template for your own comments, just be sure to change the introduction and conclusion paragraphs as appropriate for yourself/your organization.