EPA Releases Connectivity Report to Inform its Waters of the U.S. Rule

On January 15th, EPA’s Office of Research and Development released the final science report, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters.  The report summarizes current scientific understanding about the connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters. The report is based on an EPA review of the literature on the scientific evidence regarding the effects that streams, non-tidal wetlands, and open-waters have on larger downstream waters such as rivers, lakes, estuaries, and oceans. The report concludes that streams, wetlands, and other open-waters influence the integrity of downstream waters through both structural and functional connections. EPA, along with other federal agencies and states, can use this scientific report to inform policy and regulatory decisions, including the Clean Water Rule being developed jointly by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  That rule would clarify what constitutes a “water of the U.S.” and should thus be afforded the protections under the Clean Water Act.
Ken Kopocis, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator, has written a blog for additional perspective on using this science to inform our work on the Clean Water Rule. http://1.usa.gov/1we6FDw
A blog about the science has also been written by Lek Kadeli, the Acting Assistant Administrator of the Office of Research and Development. http://1.usa.gov/1wdP6Di
Find the report at: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=296414