Why Clean Water Wetland Protections Matter to Hunters

And actions DU supports to realize those protections

To maintain waterfowl populations, hunters and other conservationists must conserve and protect the waters and wetlands these birds depend on during breeding, migration, and wintering periods. At the same time, conservationists must work with our farming and ranching partners to ensure that they are not burdened by new permitting requirements or restrictions on their normal agricultural practices. 

The Clean Water Act once provided safeguards for vital waterfowl habitats, including prairie potholes. However, Supreme Court decisions have resulted in the removal of protections for tens of millions of acres of prairie potholes, playa lakes, and other wetlands essential to waterfowl. Bringing clarity and certainty to the conservation of our waterfowl resources and the preservation of our shared waterfowling heritage is critical for future generations. 

In response to requests from the public, Congress, and Supreme Court justices for more clarity on Clean Water Act protections, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently released a proposed rule that is intended to be consistent with and implement the Supreme Court decisions. The proposed rule states as its intent to clarify which waters and wetlands are under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, and which are not. 

The EPA and USACE are seeking public comments about the proposed rule. Ducks Unlimited will submit science-based information that clarifies the nature of prairie pothole wetlands and their importance to North America's waterfowl populations, and validates their significant connection to navigable waters (which is the test for jurisdiction set by the Supreme Court). Waterfowl hunters, other conservationists, and all stakeholders are invited to submit comments as well. The talking points below may prove helpful as you formulate your comments. It is especially important for waterfowl hunters to emphasize that:

It's also important that we act during the comment period and voice our concerns to protect DU's historic and critical investment in the Prairie Pothole Region on behalf of waterfowl, waterfowl hunters and our conservation-minded partners in the agricultural community.

Some facts to consider:

The proposed rule would:

The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are currently accepting comments regarding this important proposed rule through October 20, 2014.

Go to https://www.ducks.org/cleanwater to find out more about the proposed rule, or to submit your own comments to the EPA.