ASFPM Comments on the Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters

Feb 24, 2014 | News & Views, What's New

Feb. 21, 2014


Nancy Stoner
Acting Assistant Administrator for Water
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Environmental Information (OEI) Docket
Mail Code: 28221T
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2013-0582
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460

The Honorable JoEllen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works
Department of the Army, Civil works
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0108

RE: ASFPM Comments on the Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters

The Association of State Floodplain Managers supports efforts to update and clarify the rules
impacting Waters of the US. This rule will be critical in providing direction on how uses of US
waters can occur while maintaining protection of the public interest. We appreciate the dialogue
we have had with your offices on this matter.

In this letter we support the importance of a workable definition of “floodplain” as important
features to inform waters of the US. In developing this definition of the term floodplain, we
considered the biological and hydrologic role and influences of floodplains to waters, as well as
assuring that the definition fits in the broader context of other definitions and the rule itself. We
also considered the need to be sure that the definition provides the certainty needed for
regulators and the regulated communities alike. We urge that the following definition be used in
the rule:

“The term floodplain means areas recognized by the federal government, states, local
governments, or tribes that have been or may be inundated or are susceptible to being
by inundated by waters from any source when flows or water levels exceed normal
levels, including the bed and banks of the stream, river, ocean, or other body of water. It
also includes areas subject to fluvial and other erosion under flood conditions.”

We strongly advise against defining floodplains using FEMA, NFIP, flood insurance delineations
on FEMA flood maps. Not only are there large sections of the US that the NFIP has not yet
mapped, but there is significant variability across landscapes of level of detail and granularity of

ASFPM wants to further support the use of “adjacent waters” in the rule. The definition of
floodplain integrates well with this and other definitions that will simplify the rule for all


Chad Berginnis
Executive Director, Association of State Floodplain Managers

Cc: Jim Pendergast, Acting Director, Wetlands Division, EPA
Steven L. Stockton, Director of Civil Works, USACE
Jim Laity, Branch Chief, Natural Resources and Environment, OMB
Alexandra Dunn, Executive Director, Association of Clean Water Administrators
Jeanne Christie, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland Managers