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Waters of the United States' Definition Evolution: Meandering Riffles, Pools, and Runs.

  • 4 Oct 2022
  • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
  • Virtual


  • Cost of $10.00
  • Chapter Member Only

Registration is closed

Note: IdAEP will host this event for IdAEP 'Chapter Only Members' at no charge. The cost for non-IdAEP members is $10.00


Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous 1985 Riverside Bayview Homes v.US decision expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) to include more than just the nation’s “navigable waters,” debate on what should be considered a WOTUS has continued and, through much of this time, been complex and heated (e.g., SWANCC v. US (2001), Rapanos & Carabell v. US (2006)).  For more than a decade following Rapanos, the WOTUS definition has been based on the significant nexus test, as defined by Justice Kennedy’s plurality opinion.

Some viewed the Obama Administration’s 2015 Clean Water Rule’s expansion of the WOTUS definition as an “executive over-reach.”  Opposition to the 2015 Rule was swift.  Multiple federal courts enjoined the 2015 Rule, and after former President Trump’s 2017 Executive Order on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule, the 2015 Rule was repealed.  The pre-2015 WOTUS definition was re-codified in 2019.  The Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which re-defined WOTUS, became effective in June 2020.  In August 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona remanded and vacated the NWPR nationally.  The most recently proposed Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States” was published in the 7 December 2021 Federal Register.  After receipt of public comments and hosting virtual public hearings, the final rule is expected to be published by the end of 2022.  On a related front, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency case’s oral argument in October 2022.  The U.S. Supreme Court’s future decision in the latest Sackett case may have a significant bearing on how WOTUS is defined. 

Join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4’s Regional Council, the USACE  Charleston District’s Deputy District Council, a USACE Charleston District Regulatory Project Manager, a private practice environmental attorney, and a private environmental consultant to hear a summary of the WOTUS definition’s meandering flow path, its real-world results, as well as prognostications of its next riffle. 


Ward Marotti

Director: Land and Water Resources

Spangler Environmental, Inc.


Leif Palmer

Regional Counsel

Office of Region Counsel - EPA Region 4

Mary Katherine Stukes

Head of Environmental Practice

Moore & Van Allen

Jeremy Kinney

South Carolina Department of Transportation Liaison

Special Projects Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

James Choate

Deputy District Counsel

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


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