Preserve in Arizona
Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve in Arizona © Brian Prescott


New Rule Undermines Clean Water Act Safeguards

Arlington, Va.

The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from Chief External Affairs Officer Lynn Scarlett regarding the administration’s finalization of a rule defining “Waters of the United States”:

“Streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands are critical to the well-being of people and nature. These resources provide valuable—and often irreplaceable—sources of drinking water and habitat for fish and wildlife, and they power local economies and thriving communities. All of these benefits depend on the foundational safeguards embodied in the Clean Water Act.

“The action taken today by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers weakens the Clean Water Act and is contradicted by science that tells us small streams and wetlands are critical to the health of communities and waterways. To deliver on the basic purpose of the Clean Water Act—to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters—we need the rules for protecting water quality to be rooted in science. With science foundations, we can protect the waters and wetlands that meet the needs of our communities.

“As a landowner and member of the regulated community, The Nature Conservancy continues to support efforts to improve the Clean Water Act’s permitting process on the ground. However, permitting efficiencies should not come at the expense of water quality—which stands to harm vulnerable populations the most—or the many benefits clean water provides. We need to return to the kind of science-based implementation the Clean Water Act has had since its passage in 1972 to strongly protect the waters and wetlands that help meet the many needs of our communities, our economy and our nation.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.