NRDC preparing to sue EPA over WOTUS rollback | Robotic 3D printers could maintain coastal structures | EPA to help fund Great Lakes harbor cleanup
April 2, 2020
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The Natural Resources Defense Council is preparing to sue the Trump administration for rolling back the Waters of the US rule and replacing it with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, saying that the process went against the Endangered Species Act by failing to consider how rolling back water protections would affect endangered species. The NRDC is giving the Environmental Protection Agency 60 days to consult with the US Fish and Wildlife Service before it files a lawsuit.
Full Story: The Hill (3/30) 
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Erosion/Sediment Control
Autonomous 3D printers could one day seek out and repair damage to coral reefs, eroding coastlines and manmade structures. That's the vision and subject of research by three Danish companies working on 3D printing robots that can move by air, land or sea to make coastal maintenance more efficient.
Full Story: AZoM (4/1) 
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The Environmental Protection Agency has allocated $4.5 million to help remediate contaminated sediment in the St. Louis River in Duluth, Minn., one of 43 areas of concern in the Great Lakes basin. The roughly 55,000 cubic yards of problematic sediment are in an active Duluth-Superior Harbor shipping slip.
Full Story: KBJR-TV (Duluth, Minn.) (3/31) 
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Stormwater Management
A $1.2 million study led by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission examines how 10 different extreme water-level scenarios in the San Francisco Bay Area would affect natural habitats, transportation networks, new development and "vulnerable communities" in low-lying areas. Among other things, the study notes access points to four major bridges would be affected and runways at major airports would be largely underwater.
Full Story: San Francisco Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (3/31) 
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In a new study published in the journal Global Change Biology, a team of researchers from 20 countries highlight a gap in scientific knowledge about how stormwater might affect phytoplankton growth and the health of lakes and similar freshwater bodies. Because climatologists expect climate change to cause more intense and frequent storm events, the global research community needs to devote resources toward predicting the response of phytoplankton as these conditions change, study authors argue.
Full Story: The Stormwater Report (Water Environment Federation) (3/27) 
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Wetlands & Coastal Restoration
Covington, Ky., will participate in an Army Corps of Engineers project meant to rehabilitate and protect the ecosystem along the banks of the Ohio and Licking Rivers. The project awaits approval from four other Kentucky cities before work can begin.
Full Story: River City News (Covington, Ky.) (3/30) 
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Dead plant matter in Florida mangroves and marshes is being buried in the ground at a faster pace due to rising seas and climate change, leading to increased carbon storage, according to scientists. They attribute the phenomenon in part to longer flood periods that cause marsh vegetation to expand below-ground systems, which increases carbon production and storage within.
Full Story: Eos (4/1) 
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Policy & Regulation
The Army Corps of Engineers expects to decide Friday whether to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Louisiana to accommodate heavy rains that are expected to raise the Mississippi River. The move would divert water into Lake Pontchartrain and relieve pressure on levees and flood walls protecting New Orleans.
Full Story: The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate (3/31) 
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Colorado Stone Quarries diverted Yule Creek from its natural course and filled the original stream bed without the required permits and oversight, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps disagreed with the company's argument that the diversion of the Crystal River tributary to make way for a mining road was exempt from such regulations.
Full Story: Aspen Journalism (Colo.) (3/30) 
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From Around the World
Hydraulic ram pumps are being used along the Khunjerab River in Pakistan to pump water up the mountain without using electricity. The environmentally friendly pumps have allowed locals to turn barren land into farms in mountainous villages while keeping maintenance costs low.
Full Story: Thomson Reuters Foundation (3/29) 
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Learn more about the long-running controversy over the definition of "waters of the US," the Trump administration's efforts to repeal and revise the Clean Water Rule and review of the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule. This webinar will also help you understand the new rule's emphasis on state and tribal rights and outline options for state and tribal assumption of the Section 404 program. Learn more!
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Select sessions were recorded during the IECA 2020 Annual Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. If you did not attend the annual conference, you can purchase this package to access all recordings or simply select the individual sessions you would like. Earn up to 13.5 professional development hours! Explore now!
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The International Erosion Control Association (IECA) is the world's oldest and largest non-profit, member organization that provides education, resource information and business opportunities for professionals who specialize in natural resource protection. For more information about IECA, please visit
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