June Environmental Update From Deb Fagan!
Environmental News for CWA members from Deb
Below is an article on the recent Supreme Court decision impacting our wetlands and waterways. It appeared in the June Report from the Potomac RiverKeepers Network
(PRKN). Checkout their website for more information on this and the many outing opportunities offered this summer: potomacriverkeepersnetwork.org
Date: June 6, 2023 at 3:33:16 PM EDT
Bad News for Clean Water
Last month, the Supreme Court hit a devastating blow to our nation’s wetlands.
In Sackett v. EPA, the Court ruled that wetlands are not protected by the Clean Water Act unless there is a surface flow between the wetland and an adjacent navigable water. The Court also redefined the term “adjacent” so as to exclude from Clean Water Act protection wetlands separated from rivers or lakes only by dikes, berms, sand dunes or roads. Those wetlands had previously been protected for decades. Based on analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey, PRKN expects that more than half of the nation’s wetlands will no longer be protected under federal law. And the majority opinion also says that the traditional navigable waters themselves must have “relatively permanent flows.” That portion of the decision will certainly invite new rounds of litigation by industry and developers challenging CWA jurisdiction over streams that flow seasonally or after rain events. Some of our PRKN cases involve very small streams that flow into the Potomac or Shenandoah. Many of those streams are especially valuable for fish and amphibians.
Wetlands are the kidneys of a watershed; they filter out pollutants, mitigate climate change, and provide important habitats for wildlife. This profoundly regrettable decision is a major step backward in progress to clean water. A sad day for wetlands, and for all of us, but we will fight on to protect clean water with the tools available at the state level. Clean water is too important not to.
Photo credit: NOAA
Now for good news: the Maryland Fly Fishing Trail Map has Launched!
Check out this excellent website for all kinds of information on fly fishing in Maryland. fishandhuntmaryland.com
Then hit the link for Fly Fishing Trail. See if you can spot some of our members in the photos. Continue to send me information and photos of your fishing adventures in Maryland and I’ll forward them to the site keeper. Enjoy!