One of the wetlands at the Morgan Swamp Preserve
Morgan_Swamp_Preserve One of the wetlands at the Morgan Swamp Preserve © Kent Mason

Newsroom

The Nature Conservancy Supports Ohio EPA Decision to Continue to Protect Ephemeral Waterways

The Trump administration’s recently published Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule eliminates many "ephemeral” waterways, or those that flow only after a rain, from protection under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  However, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently asserted it will continue to protect these ephemeral waterways utilizing existing state authority.

The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Bill Stanley, Ohio State Director for The Nature Conservancy: 

“The Trump administration’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule severely hampers stream protection, as many smaller streams that flow infrequently still have a significant impact on water quality downstream. They will no longer be protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  Enacted in 1972, the goal of the CWA is “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.”  The new definition of CWA jurisdiction jeopardizes our ability to meet that goal.

We are pleased that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency recognizes the importance of ephemeral waterways to clean water in Ohio and look forward to working with Ohio EPA to implement this program.

Redefining the streams protected under the CWA impacts nature’s ability to manage rainfall and stormwater runoff.  Scientific evidence clearly shows that small headwater streams provide flood and erosion control for larger streams and are critical to the health of downstream rivers and lakes.

The Ohio EPA is doing the right thing by continuing to prioritize the health of our waterways.  The challenges faced by our streams, rivers and lakes are significant, and an investment to protect these essential resources is critical to our health and well-being, and to the plants, fish and other animals that call them home.”  

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 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.