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Ohio EPA Announces Draft General Permit for Impacts to Ephemeral Streams
Agency Requests Public Comments on State Proposal
Ohio EPA has released a draft general permit that will be available to applicants for projects that impact ephemeral streams and is accepting public comments on the draft permit for 30 days after the public notice is published in newspapers.
U.S. EPA’s recently finalized Navigable Waters Protection Rule will remove certain waters from federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, including ephemeral streams and certain isolated wetlands. States retain the authority to decide on oversight of these non-jurisdictional waters in ways that best protect their natural resources and local economies.
It is estimated that there are more than 36,000 miles of ephemeral streams throughout Ohio. While they do not flow continuously, these streams are important to aquatic ecosystems because they help control run-off and erosion, reduce flooding potential and help filter pollutants. Channel-like features on the land surface created by water erosion that are not tributaries, such as agricultural ditches, roadside ditches and grass swale waterways would not meet the definition of ephemeral streams.
Ohio EPA has historically used state permitting authority to regulate impacts to isolated wetlands and will continue to maintain an isolated wetland permitting program.
Ohio EPA has developed a state general permit mechanism for authorizing impacts to ephemeral streams from construction and fill activities. The general requirements that have historically been applicable to projects that impact ephemeral streams when these resources were under federal jurisdiction will be included under the state permit, including pre-notification, site restoration and mitigation requirements for permanent impacts. Ohio EPA is not proposing new or additional requirements for ephemeral streams under the draft general permit. In addition, the draft general permit is expected to be a streamlined and efficient permit mechanism for applicants.
Interested parties may review the draft general permit on Ohio EPA’s website: http://www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/401/permitting.aspx. Comments on the draft general permit should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.