The Environmental Protection Agency Thursday, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, announced a new “clear definition for Waters of the United States.” 

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule provides “much needed regulatory certainty and predictability for American farmers.” 

The rule recognizes the difference between federally protected wetlands and state protected wetlands, and adheres to the statutory limits of the agencies’ authority. 

The revised definition identifies four clear categories of waters that are federally regulated under the Clean Water Act: the territorial seas and traditional navigable waters, perennial and intermittent tributaries, certain lakes, ponds and impoundments, and wetlands that are adjacent to jurisdictional waters. 

The final action also details what waters are not subject to federal control, including features that only contain water in direct response to rainfall, groundwater, many ditches, including most farm and roadside ditches, prior converted cropland, farm and stock watering ponds, and waste treatment systems.