Federal officials issued new waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) guidelines Dec. 11 to help protect farmers and landowners from intrusive government regulations.
In their proposal, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers clarified federal authority under the Clean Water Act.
Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell applauded the definition, which would exclude ditches from regulation unless contributing flow to a perennial or intermittent stream.
Federally regulated areas would include traditional navigable waters, tributaries to those waters, some ditches, certain lakes and ponds, impoundments of jurisdictional waters, and wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters.
The proposal also details non-waters of the U.S., such as areas that only contain water during or in response to rainfall; many ditches, including most roadside or farm ditches; prior converted cropland; stormwater control features; and waste treatment systems.
A 60-day comment period is in effect.