The State Water Resources Control Board has issued a revised notice of public meeting, consideration of adoption, and public workshops for the proposed final amendments to the Ocean Plan and the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries (ISWEBE) that will include a new state definition for wetlands and procedures for discharges of dredged or fill material to waters of the state.
State Water Board staff will hold an additional public staff workshop on February 6, 2019 beginning a 9am at the Cal EPA building in Sacramento. Staff will also provide an informational update to the Board at a regularly-scheduled Board Meeting on February 19, 2019. The board will consider now adoption at its March 5 board meeting.
The State Water Board is considering adopting amendments to the Ocean Plan and the forthcoming ISWEBE Plan to include the State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State (Proposed Amendments). The Proposed Amendments consist of the following components: (1) a wetland definition;
(2) a framework for determining if a feature that meets the wetland definition is a water of the state; (3) wetland delineation procedures; and (4) procedures for application submittal, and the review and approval of Water Quality Certifications, Waste Discharge Requirements, and waivers of Waste Discharge Requirements for the discharge of dredge or fill material. The Proposed Amendments would not apply to suction dredge mining activities for mineral recovery.
The State Water Board developed the Proposed Amendments to address several important issues. First, there is a need to strengthen protections for waters of the state that are no longer protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA) due to past U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Second, there is inconsistency across the Water Boards in regulating discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the state, including wetlands. Third, current regulations have not been adequate to prevent losses in the quality and quantity of wetlands in California.
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