U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – May 12, 2016

The templates are a tool to simplify development of protective wetland water quality standards (WQS).  They address the three components of a WQS: designated uses, criteria, and antidegradation. The templates also provide wetland-specific terms and language so regulators can tailor standards to suit the needs of the wetland and their state, authorized tribe, or territory.  Once developed, the state may submit the wetland WQS to EPA for review and approval. For more information and to download templates, click here.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – May 20, 2016

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced today that it has prepared its proposal to renew and revise 50 nationwide permits. In addition, USACE will propose to issue two new nationwide permits that pertain to authorizing the removal of low-head dams and the construction and maintenance of living shorelines. A pre-publication copy of the proposal is available here. The proposal is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register in a few days. The public comment period will not begin until the proposal is published in the Federal Register. For more information, go here.

Binational.net – May 13, 2016

A Nearshore Framework for the Great Lakes has been drafted and is now available for a sixty-day review period ending on July 12, 2016. The Nearshore Framework satisfies a commitment in the Lakewide Management Annex of the Agreement to “develop, within three years of entry into force of this Agreement, an integrated
nearshore framework to be implemented collaboratively through the lakewide management process for each Great Lake.” The scope of the Framework covers the nearshore waters and embayments along the coast of the Great Lakes, the lakes’ connecting river systems and the international section of the St. Lawrence River.
Building upon existing monitoring, research and reporting (and in collaboration with key governmental and non-governmental partner agencies and organizations) the Nearshore Framework will allow for a comprehensive assessment of nearshore waters that will assist in identifying management priorities. This assessment will enable locally-led collaborations of federal, state and provincial governments, tribal governments, First Nations, Métis, municipal governments, watershed management agencies,
local public agencies and the public to take action to protect nearshore areas of high ecological value, protect water quality, and restore degraded areas. For full story, click here. To download draft Framework, click here.

By David Ljunggren – Reuters – May 18, 2016

More than a third of all North American bird species are at risk of becoming extinct unless significant action is taken, scientists who are part of a tri-nation initiative said on Wednesday, adding that ocean and tropical birds were in particular danger. The study, compiled by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative and the first
of its kind to look at the vulnerability of bird populations in Canada, the United States and Mexico, said 37 percent of all 1,154 species on the continent needed urgent conservation action. For full story, click here.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is about to publish its “Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits” in the Federal Register. The Corps’ pre-publication version of the rule is posted on their webpage. ASWM will be hosting a series of webinars about the new rule, once it is published. Stay tuned!