Integrating The Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act | Region 10 | US EPA

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Integrating The Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act

Draft Pacific Northwest Regional Agreement between Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service on Endangered Species Act

Integrating the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act: Analysis, Commitments and Recommendations for Aligning Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) and Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP)

A Draft Guidance Document Jointly issued by EPA, NMFS and FWS

Dear State, Tribal, and Local Government Colleague:

As you know, the Northwest faces an enormous and complex challenge to recover the salmon and other endangered aquatic species. In order to reverse the decline of salmon and other aquatic species, we must work towards restoring the water quality of our lakes and rivers, and the critical habitat that these species need for survival.

During the last year, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, have been working together on a number of initiatives to integrate the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The enclosed guidance document entitled "Integrating the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act: Analysis, Commitments and Recommendations for Aligning Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) and Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP)," is one part of our agencies' effort to integrate the application of the CWA and ESA.

This guidance is designed to describe the advantages of TMDL/HCP integration and address the need to support private and governmental entities that are wresting with how to successfully resolve ESA issues in the same geographic area that also contain water bodies listed under section 303(d) of the CWA. It is our intent that this guidance serve as a mechanism, where appropriate, for streamlining and integrating the HCP and TMDL processes. We now need your help in reviewing this draft guidance and identifying how it can be improved. Please feel free to share the draft with others who may have an interest in the topic.

Contacts for this Guidance are:

John Palmer
US EPA Region 10
1200 Sixth Ave. Suite 900 (OW-135)
Seattle, WA. 98101
(206) 553-6521
John Volkman
NMFS-Habitat Conservation Div.
525 NE Oregon St., Suite 500
Portland, OR. 97232-2737
(503) 231-6267
Jody Brown
911 NE 11th Ave.
Portland, OR. 97232
(503) 231-6241
We look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Chuck Clarke
Regional Administrator
EPA Region 10
Will Stelle, Jr.
Regional Director
Anne Badgley
Regional Director

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, available as a free download, to view some of the files on this page. See 0EPA's PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader.

(If printing this page does not work well for you, here's a printable version of the above letter. letter.pdf)

Integrating the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act
The regional offices of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are preparing guidance for private landowners and state and local government on the integration of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA). The attached draft guidance explains how ESA Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) and CWA Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analyses can be integrated.
The listing of salmonids under ESA and the growing list of impaired water bodies under the CWA makes integration an imperative. The goals of the CWA and ESA are generally compatible and complementary. Yet local jurisdictions and landowners have concerns about the potential for “double jeopardy” under the CWA and the ESA and uncertainty about integrating the procedural and technical aspects of the two Acts. The cooperating federal agencies are committed to integrate the two Acts.
Landowners whose land contains impaired waters under the CWA and affects species listed under the ESA, may want to simultaneously prepare a TMDL and an HCP. These two regulatory tools may offer the landowner the greatest assurance of compliance with these two laws.
While there are similarities between HCPs and TMDLs, this guidance also addresses some of the differences:
Scale ( watershed, basin, segment etc.)
Ownership (public, private, mixed ownership)
Deadlines for completion (HCPs are voluntary, TMDLs are not)
Public review processes (state and federal comment periods and public involvement)
Functional scope (single species, multiple species etc.)
Measurement of success (meeting water quality standards versus habitat functions)
Assurances (HCPs have a longer term than TMDLs)
Implementation plan (required under HCPs)
The cooperating federal agencies request that landowners and tribal, state and local governments review and comment on this draft so that the document will better reflect both the needs and experiences of users. In addition to seeking comments, the cooperating federal agencies intend to learn from pilot projects which are attempting to integrate HCP/TMDL development and expect to revise this draft document in light of that experience.

Click here to download the draft guidance as an Acrobat TM PDF file.
Need an Adobe TM Acrobat TM PDF reader?

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