Policy and Regulatory Programs Affecting Wetlands and Waters of the Mid-Atlantic Region

  • James M. McElfishJr.
  • Robert P. Brooks


Federal and state laws and policies determine which wetlands and waters are protected and which are not. More than a century of policy evolution has reflected growing understanding of the importance of wetland systems, while responding to economic and social pressures of a rising population with development expectations. Federal laws, chiefly the Clean Water Act, provide the most substantial regulatory framework governing what activities may take place in wetlands and under what conditions. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates the federal permitting program, which allows filling of waters and wetlands under individual, nationwide, or general permits, subject to requirements for avoidance, minimization, and compensation for impacts. Supreme Court cases in the first decade of the twenty-first century have made the application of the Clean Water Act to wetlands more complex, requiring science to try to answer legal questions. In the Mid-Atlantic Region, state laws also regulate activities in many wetlands and waters, with most states operating permitting regimes in addition to the federal system. Finally, other federal programs and international agreements provide additional opportunities for wetland conservation.


National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Impact Statement Mitigation Site Compensatory Mitigation Wetland Reserve Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Adamus R, Stockwell LT (1983) A method for wetland functional assessment. Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  2. Center for Watershed Protection (2008) A local ordinance to protect wetland functions. CWP, Ellicott City, MDGoogle Scholar
  3. Environmental Law Institute (2006) 2005 Status report on compensatory mitigation in the United States. ELI, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  4. Environmental Law Institute (2007) Mitigation of impacts to fish and wildlife habitat: estimating costs and identifying opportunities. ELI, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  5. Environmental Law Institute (2008a) Planner’s guide to wetland buffers for local governments. ELI, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  6. Environmental Law Institute (2008b) State wetland protection: status, trends %26 model approaches. ELI, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  7. Environmental Law Institute (2011) America’s vulnerable waters: assessing the nation’s portfolio of vulnerable aquatic resources since Rapanos v. United States. ELI, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Environmental Law Institute (2012) The Clean Water Act jurisdictional handbook, 2nd edn. ELI, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  9. Kusler J (2003) Wetlands and watershed management—a guide for local governments. Pub. No. 28. Association of State Wetland Managers, Berne, NYGoogle Scholar
  10. McElfish J (2004) Nature-friendly ordinances. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  11. Mitsch W, Gosselink JG (2007) Wetlands. Wiley, Hoboken, NJGoogle Scholar
  12. Strand M, Rothschild L (2009) Wetlands deskbook, 3rd edn. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  13. Trefethen JB (1975) An American crusade for wildlife. Boone and Crockett Club, Missoula, MTGoogle Scholar
  14. USEPA/Corps of Engineers (2008a) Compensatory Mitigation Rule. 33 C.F.R. §332; 40 C.F.R. §230Google Scholar
  15. USEPA/Corps of Engineers (2008b) Clean Water Act Jurisdiction following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Rapanos v. United States %26 Carabell v. United States Google Scholar
  16. USEPA/Corps of Engineers (2011) Draft guidance on identifying waters protected by the Clean Water ActGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Law InstituteWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Riparia, Department of GeographyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations