CWA, 404 & WOTUS: Navigating Wetlands Issues in Agriculture
For more than 40 years the nation has used section 404 of the Clean
Water Act (CWA) as the federal regulatory program to protect wetlands.
However, the relationship between the statute and agriculture is perhaps
more uncertain than at any time in the past. As a result, there is an
enhanced potential for federal scrutiny and potentially enforcement of
activities the farmer perceives as normal business. Further, a general
understanding of the CWA is becoming another of the myriad of skills
that a successful farmer or rancher and their attorneys must have access
to. This presentation will address the history of the CWA regulatory
methods as well as practical aspects of how to navigate the CWA wetlands
regulatory program. It will also provide an update of the current
status of 404(f) and the federal courts, including the recent United
States Supreme Court decision in Hawkes v. United States Army Corps of Engineers and the WOTUS final rule.