On wetland regulation, we may define away nature at our own peril

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Marsh, North Wldwood, New Jersey

JESSICA KAO / NEWS DEEPLY – The Trump administration has moved decisively to weaken the Waters of the U.S.(WOTUS) rule, a federal regulatory process that seeks to protect wetlands and seasonal streams from excessive development.

This effort has suffered setbacks in the courts, which has only helped create more uncertainty about how these waters should be protected. To fill the regulatory void, California is moving to adopt its own rules, an effort that is hugely controversial but which may be necessary in the absence of sufficient federal oversight.

Wetlands and ephemeral streams are essential habitat for wildlife, and vital filters for the drinking water we all depend on every day. In many cases, they also serve as flood protection, storing or slowing down storm runoff that would otherwise threaten downstream development …

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