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Stormwater Management Commission News

Posted on: June 19, 2020

New WOTUS Rule Effective June 22, 2020

To: Certified Wetland Specialists, Community Enforcement Officers, & Other Interested Parties:

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which re-defines waters of the United States (WOTUS), becomes effective on June 22, 2020The full rule published in the Federal Register, including preamble, can be viewed at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-04-21/pdf/2020-02500.pdf. Specifically, pages 22338-22339 contain Part 328 – Definition of WOTUS.

Under the NWPR, four main categories of wetlands and waters will be WOTUS (subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act):

  1. Territorial seas and “Traditional Navigable Waters,” such as the Fox & Des Plaines Rivers.
  2. Tributaries – perennial & intermittent streams, such as Squaw Creek, Mill Creek and Indian Creek.
  3. Most lakes and ponds, such as Bangs Lake & Hastings Lake, and impoundments of waters #1 & 2 above.
  4. Wetlands adjacent to waters # 1 through 3 above (must touch or have a surface hydrologic connection if separated by a berm or road - e.g., culvert).

The NWPR specifically excludes 12 types of wetlands and waters, notably: most ditches, stormwater control structures constructed in upland, groundwater, and ephemeral drainage features (see rule for complete list of exclusions).

SMC’s wetland staff will continue to perform preliminary wetland jurisdictional determinations (PJD’s) in the company of a representative from the USACE-Chicago District. Jurisdiction of WOTUS will be determined following the definitions in the NWPR and implementation guidance provided by the USACE. Areas not meeting the WOTUS definition will be considered Isolated Waters of Lake County (IWLC), subject to regulation under the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance (WDO), unless such areas meet the exclusion criteria listed under the definition of IWLC in Appendix A of the WDO, as determined by the community Enforcement Officer.

For your convenience, SMC’s fillable form for requesting a PJD and/or boundary verification of IWLC can be downloaded from: SMC’s fillable form (PDF) . If you have any questions regarding SMC’s PJD services, please contact our wetland specialists: Glenn Westman gwestman@lakecountyil.gov or Juli Crane jcrane@lakecountyil.gov.

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