State Water Resources Control Board: New Regulations and Permit Requirements for Wetlands and Waters of the State

On June 17, 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) proposed a regulatory and permitting framework for wetlands not otherwise covered by the federal Clean Water Act.

The State Water Board had previously recognized that the Porter-Cologne Act did not offer clear guidance for preservation of wetlands, or even for determining jurisdiction over non-federal wetland areas. The proposal from nearly a decade ago, was supposed to closely track the federal definition of a wetland as well as the federal wetland delineation procedures, however the State Water Board has now proposed a different definition of wetlands from the federal scheme, and incorporates additional guidelines to delineate and then force mitigation of non-federal wetland areas.

Additional permitting costs and mitigation requirements will also be demanded by the State in addition to those already imposed by the Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 Mitigation Rule. The draft regulations provide for the review and approval of the new State wetland permit application, Water Quality Certification, Waste Discharge Requirements, and waivers of the Waste Discharge Requirements.

Workshops and public hearings are scheduled for June and July, with the public comment period ending on August 4, 2016. The State Water Board is scheduled to consider the proposal for final adoption this fall.

SWRCB Draft Release 2016 HERE.