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Wetlands Comment Deadline Extension Requested by RCRC

RCRC (Regional Council of Rural Counties) has joined a variety of organizations in requesting the State Water
Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to extend the comment
deadline by 90 days for the Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an
Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Initial Study (IS) relating to the
State Water Board’s Wetland Area Protection Policy and Dredge and Fill
Regulations. The existing deadline for comment is February 15.

In addition to the requested 90-day extension, the coalition letter
urged the State Water Board to “…conduct at least one public meeting in
each of the nine Regional Water Quality Control Board districts during
the extended comment period.” The coalition extension request letter can
be accessed at: http://www.rcrcnet.org/pub/BarbedWire/2011/Wetlands2011-

The first of three phases, the proposal by State Water Board staff calls
for the adoption of a California specific wetlands definition that is
broader than the federal definition used with the State today by the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The proposed definition: removes the
vegetation criteria that exists in the federal definition; departs from
the federal “hydric soil” definition to extend regulation to any “hydric
substrate”; allows for the inadvertent creation of a defined “wetland”
by human activity; and, extends wetland regulation to wholly isolated
areas that meet the definition whether supporting an ecosystem or not.

The IS states that while the “Project” will not address riparian areas
until Phase 3, that Phase 1 would require a
“watershed approach” to mitigation panning, and that it is expected that
riparian areas would be included in any
assessment of watershed resources. The watershed approach involves
consideration of potential direct, secondary
(indirect), and cumulative adverse impacts of the proposed alternative
on the physical, chemical, and biological
characteristics of the aquatic ecosystem.

Local land use agencies will be affected in two ways: 1) local agency
projects will be subject to the State Water Board wetlands and riparian
area policy; and, 2) when specific projects are proposed requiring a
local permit.

The NOP can be accessed at:

Additional background information can be accessed at:


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