Clean Water Act Section 401 – Certification and Wetlands Program
WETLAND AND RIPARIAN AREA PROTECTION POLICY
As directed by the State Water Board in Resolution No. 2008-0026, the Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy is being implemented in three phases which will allow for necessary infrastructure and program development.
The current Phase 1 effort is now called the “Wetland Area Protection and Dredge and Fill Permitting Policy.” The purpose of Phase 1 is to protect all waters of the State, including wetlands, from dredge and fill discharges. It includes a wetland definition and associated delineation methods, an assessment framework for collecting and reporting aquatic resource information, and requirements applicable to discharges of dredged or fill material.
Phases 2 and 3 are not under consideration at this time. Current efforts on Phase 1 are focused on developing a Draft Program Environmental Impact Report and accompanying draft policy and draft regulation text.
- Preliminary Draft Wetland Area Protection Policy Adoption Schedule - This schedule is subject to periodic updates .
- Staff Level Discussion Document - These are internal administrative draft materials. These have not been reviewed by Water Board executive management of the Office of Chief Counsel, and do not represent final decisions by the Water Board. At this time, the Water Board is not soliciting any comments on these internal administrative draft materials .
- 2013 May – Wetland Conservation Work Plan 2012 Update
The 2011 Wetland Conservation Work Plan has been updated for 2012. The Annual Update Report is attached at the end of the 2011 Work Plan document.
- 2013 January – Revised Preliminary Draft Wetland Area Protection Policy
The State Water Resources Control Board released a Preliminary Draft Wetland Area Protection Policy (Policy) today. The Policy release is for informational purposes only since it is still moving through the process of internal review. The Policy development effort has included input from the general public, stakeholder groups, state and federal agencies, tribal government representatives, and technical experts. The draft policy is scheduled to be released with an environmental review document later this year for public comment. The Policy includes four elements: (1) a wetland definition; (2) a wetland delineation method; (3) a wetland assessment and monitoring framework; and (4) authorization procedures for dredge and fill discharges to waters of the state.
- 2012 September – Technical Memoranda 2, 3 and 4 have been revised in response to peer review comments and other comments. See the new versions in the Technical Advisory Team Memoranda links below.
- 2012 May – Wetlands: Frequently Asked Questions
- 2011 December 22 – CRAM Peer Review and Staff Comments
Rapid wetland condition assessment methods, such as CRAM, are currently under consideration as part of the Phase 1 Wetland Area Protection Policy assessment, monitoring and reporting requirements. For this reason, CRAM was submitted for external scientific review to verify that the scientific findings, conclusions, and assumptions of CRAM are based upon sound scientific knowledge, methods, and practices. Get more information on the State Water Resources Control Board peer review process.
- 2011 April - Wetland Conservation Work Plan
The State Water Board and the Department of Fish and Game have developed a five-year coordinated Work Plan to carry out each agency’s directives regarding wetland conservation program development and to support funding for these activities through U.S. EPA Wetland Program Development Grants and other source.
- 2011 February-May - Draft Program Environmental Impact Report
The State Water Resources Control Board invited the public to comment on potential environmental effects of the proposed Project. The Project will include a State Water Board wetland definition.
- 2011 January and February - Two Public Workshops/CEQA Scoping Meetings
- Meeting Locations:
- Sacramento - January 31, 2011
- San Diego - February 8, 2011
- Presentation - "Wetland Area Protection Policy and Dredge and Fill Regulations for California"
- Meeting Locations:
- 2010 June 21, June 30 and July 7 - Phase 1 WRAPP Public Meetings
The Policy Development Team received comments from representatives of interest groups and Tribal Government representatives. They will use this input to develop a first draft of the policy scope and supporting staff report for future public review.
- 2009 October 6 - State Water Board Meeting - Information Item
The State Water Board was briefed on a wetland definition developed by the Technical Advisory Team (TAT), at the October 6th Board Meeting. to be held at the Cal/EPA Building in Sacramento
- 2008 December 4 & 5 - Phase 1 WRAPP Stakeholders Meetings
State and Regional Water Board policy staff heard comments from representatives of the following groups regarding the policy scope: (1) business; (2) environmental; (3) state & local agencies; (4) agriculture, timber & range; (5) federal and tribes; and (6) public health and safety. The Policy Development Team will use this input to develop a first draft of the policy and supporting staff report for future public review. See an Overview of the Policy Development Process
- 2008 August -September - CEQA Scoping Meetings
State Water Board staff sought public input regarding the scope and content of Phase 1 of a statewide policy to protect waters of the state, including wetlands, from dredge and fill activities, as described in the State Water Board Resolution No. 2008-0026. CEQA Scoping Meetings on Phase I of the Wetland & Riparian area Protection Policy are scheduled for August 18 (Sacramento) and August 20 (Huntington Beach). Comment deadline is September 8, 2008, by 12 p.m. Please see the public notice for details.
- 2008 July 15 - Board Update
The Water Resources Board was updated on the progress of the Wetland Policy Development Team's charter, stakeholder plan, and timelines at the Board Meeting.
- 2008 April 15 - Resolution Passed
The State Water Board passed a resolution directing work to begin on a statewide wetland and riparian area policy for future consideration. The policy will be developed in three phases, with the first phase due by mid-2009.
- Board Presentation (PPT)
- 2007 April-May - Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Proposed Policy
- The Technical Advisory Team (TAT) was formed under a USEPA grant to assist in scientific analysis of specific policy topics.
- Executive Order W-59-93 (signed by Governor Pete Wilson on August 23, 1993) established state policy guidelines for wetlands conservation. The primary goal of this policy is to ensure no overall net loss and to achieve a long-term net gain in the quantity, quality, and permanence of wetland acreage in California. The federal wetlands policy, representing a significant advance in wetlands protection, was unveiled by nine federal agencies on August 24, 1993.
- Compensatory Mitigation Study Now Available
The State Water Resources Control Board has released a comprehensive study that evaluates the effectiveness of the State's wetland regulatory program. The study found that the permit compliance was generally met and that overall wetland acreage was being maintained; however, the biological health of the these replacement wetlands was low. The study is titled "An Evaluation of Compensatory Mitigation Projects Permitted Under Clean Water Act Section 401 by the California State Water Resources Control Board, 1991-2002" by Richard F. Ambrose and Steven F. Lee of the University of California, Los Angeles, and John C. Callaway of the University of San Francisco.
- SWANCC decision - isolated waters information and related documents.
- State Regulation of "Isolated" Waters - Summary
- Workplan: Filling the Gaps in Wetland Protection, September 24, 2004
- Guidance for Regulation of Discharge to Isolated Waters, June 25, 2004
- Report to Legislature, Regulatory Steps Needed to Protect and Conserve Wetlands Not Subject to the Clean Water Act, April 2003
- State Board Response to Federal ANPRM, March 13, 2003
Effect of SWANCC v. United States on the 401 Certification Program, January 25, 2001
- CWA Section 401 Certification and Wetlands Program Web Page
- For more information on this topic, contact the State Water Board's, Division of Water Quality/Regulatory Unit, at: (916) 341-5506.
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