By Irina Lapina and Taya MacLean
Section 404 Waters of the United States definitions
Recently, Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definitions under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act changed, which will have an immediate effect on any project proposing impacts to streams, lakes, ponds, ditches, or/and wetlands.
In August 2021, the most recent WOTUS definitions and rule was vacated nationwide following a U.S. District Court of Arizona order. The order takes us back to the pre-2015 definition of WOTUS from 1986 and the Supreme Court’s 2006 Rapanos and Carabell decisions regarding significant nexus. Based on the pre-2015 significant nexus rule, the agencies will place greater protection over wetlands or waters for which “flow characteristics and functions would significantly affect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream traditional navigable waters.”
By Mark Mazzola
The federal Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently finalized new rules for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which became effective on September 14, 2020. This was the first major revision to NEPA in over 40 years. The impetus for the updated rules is to streamline the NEPA process, which is often subject to delays from lengthy decision-making processes and litigation. The CEQ found that it takes an average of 4.5 years to complete a NEPA environmental impact statement (EIS) process, from a notice of intent to the issuance of a record of decision, with many projects taking over 10 years to complete their EIS process. The new regulations are meant to clarify and codify what is already required by NEPA, its implementing regulations, guidance, and case law (Venable 2020a).
Following is a summary of the major changes to NEPA made by the new rules. The discussion is taken primar... (more)
Parametrix wetland scientists delineating wetlands in Mason County, WA.
The final rule for defining waters of the United States (WOTUS) was approved in January 2020. The new rule eliminates Clean Water Act protections
for the majority of the nation's wetlands and more than 18% of streams, according to the US Geological Survey’s National Hydrology Dataset.
The Navigable Waters Protection Rule, also known as the Waters of the US, or WOTUS, rule, replaces regulations that have been in place since the Reagan administration.
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By John Phillips, ENV SP
When catastrophes like storms, earthquakes, fires, or terrorist attacks occur, the first response is automatic: addressing casualties. The second response, which is nearly as urgent, should be ensuring that critical infrastructure is still in place, starting with power and water.
When power and water systems malfunction, the immediate effects of a disaster multiply in a myriad of ways. Power and water failure can impact critical medical care, slow down food distribution, and create conditions for crime.
Unfortunately, many communities in the world have infrastructure that is anything but resilient. Mature regions often have aging, under-maintained systems, and systems that are over capacity. Developing economies may have the opposite problem. They struggle to put infrastructure in place and then scale it to support rapid population growth.
So, what does it mean to have resilient i... (more)
Welcome to Parametrix's Inspired People Blog! Here we will share things that we are passionate about including industry knowledge, project updates, company news and happenings, and more! Hit the subscribe button on the right to receive an email when a new blog post is published.
This blog was created because we found the need for a little more space to share everything we want to say. We look forward to sharing our ideas, knowledge, passions, and what inspires us with you!
You may wonder where the name "Inspired People Blog" came from - it was inspired by our core values and what makes Parametrix unique. This blog serves as a platform for inspired people to share their inspired solutions and how we are making a difference.
We are engineers, planners, scientists, surveyors, and construction managers dedicated to providing outstanding client service to our clients. We are employee-owners who each have a s... (more)