How WOTUS Will Affect Farmers
Completed Maps Showing WOTUS Jurisdiction
The following maps show how the Waters of the U.S. Rule, as finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, will radically expand federal jurisdiction over land use. The controversial Waters of the United States Rule takes effect on Aug. 28, 2015. That expansion comes even as major parts of the rule remain largely incomprehensible to experts and laypeople, alike.
The maps, prepared by Geosyntec Consulting, show the dramatic expansion of EPA's regulatory reach, stretching across wide swaths of land in the states illustrated by the maps. In Pennsylvania, for example, 99 percent of the state's total acreage is subject to EPA scrutiny. Landowners have no reliable way to know which of the water and land within that area will be regulated, yet they must still conform their activities to the new law.
Maps prepared to date can be found here:
• Missouri WOTUS Maps
• Montana WOTUS Maps
• New York WOTUS Maps
• Oklahoma WOTUS Maps
• Pennsylvania WOTUS Maps
• Virginia WOTUS Maps
• Wisconsin WOTUS Maps
*Additional maps are being developed for parts of New York, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
The interactive maps in detail:
The maps' base layer shows areas regulated as tributaries and adjacent wetlands without a case-specific "significant nexus" analysis under previous rules. Through a progression, the maps add "ephemeral streams"—low spots in the land that drain and channel water away from farmland after a rain but are otherwise dry. The EPA has sometimes asserted jurisdiction over such areas before, but only after a site-specific finding of a "significant nexus" to downstream waters. Under the new rule, all such "ephemeral tributaries" are regulated.