Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Comments on the Proposed Waters of the US Rule: 6 of 8: Illegal Regulation of Concrete Ditches Underway, to Continue

My name is River Mud.  I am a wetland systems ecologist and twice-confirmed Professional Wetland Scientist with 17 years experience siting, monitoring, designing, and constructing habitat and stormwater projects in 14 states.   I have reviewed the documents proffered by the US EPA on the "New Rule" for Waters of the United States, and have also reviewed the Scientific Review Board's findings.  As a career professional in wetland and stream conservation, and as a staunch conservationist in my personal life and actions, I cannot and do not support the New Rule as currently drafted in October, 2014.  I have ample experience and expertise to support this position.

Concrete Ditches
Comment:  Corps and EPA employees have regulated concrete swales alongside highways as ephemeral streams, intermittent streams, and even federal wetlands in the past.  Mitigation has been required to relocate these "resources," such as they are.  Iron stains in the concrete have been claimed of evidence of "seasonal high water" and even "top of stream bank" by federal staff.  EPA's claim that such judgments would not occur under the New Rule do not take into account this history, or likely agency culture to continue to regulate concrete ditches, as they have been doing for the last 20 years (illegally).  This is another oversight of the New Rule.

Recommendation:  Add language to the New Rule explicitly exempting from regulation "ephemeral ditches or channels whose hydrology is dominated by roadway or parking lot runoff leading directly to the channel."  Notably exempted should be channels lined with stone, rubble, gabion, or concrete.

1 comment:

oakleyses said...
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