F&W Provide Guidance On Complying With New WOTUS Rule

A federal Appeals Court in Cincinnati has put a hold on implementation of the EPA/Corps of Engineers controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule until it can review its impact on rural farmers and landowners, but this shouldn’t stop forest owners from understanding the potential perils from the new water and wetland rules.

“There is legitimate concern that the agencies have significantly expanded the limits of their regulatory authority to lands that have not been traditionally considered under their purview,” said John Godbee, manager of F&W Forestry Services’ Certification and Environmental Compliance Group, in the winter edition of the F&W Forestry Report.

“From a practical standpoint for forest landowners, the WOTUS rule expands federal CWA [Clean Water Act] jurisdiction over many landscape features including farm, ranch, and forest lands across the nation. As a result the lands where essential and commonplace farming, ranching, and forestry practices are conducted are considered to be Waters of the U.S.,” he said.

“Forest landowners have several options to minimize the risk of violating the CWA,” Godbee said. “It is essential that all forest management activities be conducted in full compliance with state and federal Best Management Practices for forestry. Landowners should also seek professional forestry advice when considering a land use change for property or are uncertain as to the extent of the silvicultural exemption.”


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