This week, EPA's Science Advisory Board released for public comment a draft scientific report, "Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence." This draft report synthesizes more than 1,000 peer-reviewed pieces of scientific literature about how smaller, isolated water bodies are connected to larger ones and represents the state-of-the-science on the connectivity and isolation of waters in the United States.
The final version of this report will serve as a basis for a joint EPA and Army Corps of Engineers rulemaking aimed at clarifying the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. A draft of this rule was sent to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review. The proposed joint rule will provide greater consistency, certainty, and predictability nationwide by providing clarity for determining where the Clean Water Act applies and where it does not. These improvements are necessary to reduce costs and minimize delays in the permit process and protect waters that are vital to public health, the environment and economy.