inited StatM
               itwiroamcntal Protection
Offic* of Water (WH-556F).
Office of Wetlands, Oceans,
and Watemhad* (A-104 F)
EPA843-F-93-001 j
March 1993
              WETLANDS  FACT SHEET #10
               Was the 404  Program  Intended to
               Regulate Wetlands?
           The History

      In 1972, Congress passed the Federal
Water Pollution Control Act Amendments "to
restore and  maintain the chemical, physical,
and biological integrity" of the Nation's waters.
The Act defined "navigable waters" as "waters
of the United States." The legislative history
made plain that Congress intended the broadest
possible Federal jurisdiction, expanding beyond
traditionally navigable waters.

      However, when the US. Army Corps of
Engineers (Corps) issued regulations to imple-
ment the Section 404 program in 1974, it limited
the program's jurisdiction to traditionally navi-
gable waters, including adjacent wetlands, but
excluding many small waterways and most
wetlands. In 1975, a federal district court di-
rected the Corps to revise and expand its regu-
lations to be consistent with Congressional in-

      In response, the Corps issued interim
final regulations to include waters that are not
adjacent to navigable waters ("isolated waters")
in the program's jurisdiction. In 1977, the Corps
issued final regulations and explicitly included
"isolated wetlands and lakes, intermittent
streams, prairie potholes, and other waters that
are not part  of a tributary system to interstate
waters or to navigable waters of  the United
States, the degradation or destruction of which
could affect interstate commerce."  The defini-
tion  r             1977 is substantiall the
            EPA and the Corps of Engineers
      have identified examples of waters
      generally not considered waters of die
      United States. These examples include
      nontidal drainage and irrigation
      ditches excavated on dry land, artifi-
      cially irrigated areas which would
      revert to upland if the irrigation ceased,
      and certain artificial lakes or ponds
      created on dry land.
same as the one in effect today.

 What Has Congress Done?

      WhenCongressamended the Act in 1977.
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