New federal rules to protect navigable waters promise to provide the certainty farmers and ranchers need to maintain agricultural production and enhance the land under their care, the California Farm Bureau Federation says. CFBF
President Jamie Johansson said today’s release of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers encourages farmers and ranchers.
“You won’t find a stronger ally than farmers and ranchers when it comes to protecting land and natural resources, because they depend on those resources to produce food and farm products,” Johansson said. “The new rule promises clear guidelines to help farmers maintain and improve water quality while retaining the flexibility they need to manage their land.”
The Navigable Waters Protection Rule will replace the 2015 Waters of the United States rule that would have given federal agencies extensive authority to regulate routine farming activities.
According to the Washington Examiner, four types of waters are covered by federal protections: traditional navigable waters such as seas and rivers, streams that flow into traditional navigable waters, wetlands right next to covered waters, and lakes and ponds.
Other waters covered under WOTUS were excluded from the new rule, including wetlands connected to covered waters through groundwater and ephemeral streams and streams that flow with rainwater, according to the newspaper.
“The old WOTUS rule generated only confusion and litigation,” Johansson said. “We hope the new rule will lead to a more cooperative approach that sees farmers and ranchers as partners in protection of natural resources.”