Public Comment Period Extended for Waters of the US Proposed Rule

EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) are extending the public comment period for the Waters of the U.S. proposed rule from July 21 until October 20, 2014, an additional 91 days. This extension is in response to numerous requests received by the agencies (EPA and COE). The agencies are continuing to meet with representatives of States and local governments, stakeholders, and elected officials during the comment period. The Waters of the U.S. proposed rule will clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources.

The agencies have also extended the public comment period on the interpretive rule by 30 days to July 7th . The interpretive rule ensures that 56 specific conservation practices that protect or improve water quality and are conducted in conformance with NRCS practice standards will not be subject to Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting requirements for discharges of dredged or fill material. Information about the proposed rule can be found at www.epa.gov/uswaters.

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New USGS Report and Webinar on Dissolved Solids in Streams

A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report provides science-based information on where dissolved solids concentrations are elevated and the dominant sources contributing to these conditions. Using the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program SPAtially-Referenced Regression on Watershed Attributes (SPARROW) model, long-term mean annual dissolved-solids loads from 2,560 water-quality monitoring stations were statistically related to several spatial datasets that are surrogates for dissolved-solids sources and land-to-water delivery processes. Sources in the model included variables representing geologic materials, road deicers, urban lands, cultivated lands, and pasture lands.

Maps of concentrations, yields, and loads of dissolved solids in streams are available on the online, interactive decision support tool. The online tool can also be used to evaluate dissolved-solids loads to any user selected watershed outlet or to predict how changes in selected sources of dissolved solids within a selected watershed may change loadings to the watershed outlet. Visit the related USGS web sites to view the Report, Maps, and Decision support system. For questions, please contact David Anning at dwanning@usgs.gov or (928) 556-7139.

REGISTER for the USGS Webinar on July 22nd from 1:00 – 2:30pm (eastern) entitled, “Human Actions Increase Salt Content in many of the Nation’s Streams.”