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NAEP Webinar: Waters of the United States Definition Evolution
Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT
Category: Webinars

Waters of the United States
Definition Evolution: Meandering Riffles, Pools, and Runs

August 31, 2022 9:00–10:30 AM (PT) | 12:00–1:30 PM (ET) 

Location: Zoom Webinar 

Registration Closed

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Check out our webinar recordings in the Past Webinar Library!


NAEP / ACRA Members: $75 | NAEP Student Members: Free
Chapter Members: $125 | Non-members: $140



Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous 1985 Riverside Bayview Homes v.US decision expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) to include more than just the nation’s “navigable waters,” debate on what should be considered a WOTUS has continued and, through much of this time, been complex and heated (e.g., SWANCC v. US (2001), Rapanos & Carabell v. US (2006)).  For more than a decade following Rapanos, the WOTUS definition has been based on the significant nexus test, as defined by Justice Kennedy’s plurality opinion.

Some viewed the Obama Administration’s 2015 Clean Water Rule’s expansion of the WOTUS definition as an “executive over-reach.”  Opposition to the 2015 Rule was swift.  Multiple federal courts enjoined the 2015 Rule, and after former President Trump’s 2017 Executive Order on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule, the 2015 Rule was repealed.  The pre-2015 WOTUS definition was re-codified in 2019.  The Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which re-defined WOTUS, became effective in June 2020.  In August 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona remanded and vacated the NWPR nationally.  The most recently proposed Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States” was published in the 7 December 2021 Federal Register.  After receipt of public comments and hosting virtual public hearings, the final rule is expected to be published by the end of 2022.  On a related front, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency case’s oral argument in October 2022.  The U.S. Supreme Court’s future decision in the latest Sackett case may have a significant bearing on how WOTUS is defined. 

Join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4’s Regional Council, the USACE  Charleston District’s Deputy District Council, a USACE Charleston District Regulatory Project Manager, a private practice environmental attorney, and a private environmental consultant to hear a summary of the WOTUS definition’s meandering flow path, its real-world results, as well as prognostications of its next riffle. 


Ward MarottiWard Marotti 
Director: Land and Water Resources
Spangler Environmental, Inc.   

Ward Marotti has been involved in the successful implementation and management of ecological restoration project planning, design, implementation, oversight, and monitoring for over 30 years. In addition to Ward’s extensive natural resource assessment and restoration experience, he has completed hundreds of public and private environmental compliance and permitting projects, including NEPA and SEPA EAs and EISs, water quality and riparian buffer variances, Endangered Species Act Section 7 and 10 impact permits and conservation plans, protected species relocation plans, and watershed use re-classifications. Ward is the Past President of the National Association of Environmental Professionals’ North Carolina Chapter and currently serves on the South Carolina Chapter’s inaugural board as its representative on the national board of directors.


Leif Palmer

Leif Palmer
Regional Counsel
Office of Region Counsel - EPA Region 4  

Leif Palmer is the Regional Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 located in Atlanta, Georgia. The Office of Regional Counsel (ORC) is comprised of seven branches and approximately 70 lawyers and a dozen FOIA and support staff. ORC provides legal advice to the 900-plus Region 4 managers, staff, and senior leaders. Substantive legal areas include: civil and criminal enforcement under all federal environmental laws under EPA purview; legal counseling for a host of issues includes the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.; Superfund and Federal facilities; representing the Agency in defensive litigation in citizen suits, tort claims, and takings; and operating the Region 4 FOIA Office.

Leif has 29 years of experience at EPA Region 4 and has held management positions in ORC’s Superfund and General & Criminal Law Offices. Prior to becoming a manager, Leif served as a Senior Attorney for General Law matters for 10 years where he handled contracts, grants, defensive litigation and other matters, including serving as the lead attorney for Region 4’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  Before he was a Senior Attorney, Leif worked in the Air, Pesticides, Toxics and General Law Office where his duties were split between regulatory enforcement and general law. Leif is a member of the Oregon and Georgia bar associations and received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Oregon. 

Mary Katherine StukesMary Katherine Stukes
Head of Environmental Practice
Moore & Van Allen

Mary Katherine Stukes practices environmental law at Moore & Van Allen in Charlotte, where she is head of the firm’s Environmental practice. She advises clients on environmental issues involved in all types of business transactions, as well as regulatory compliance issues and environmental litigation.  She holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law. 

Jeremy KinneyJeremy Kinney 
South Carolina Department of Transportation Liaison 
Special Projects Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Jeremy Kinney currently serves as the South Carolina Department of Transportation Liaison in the Special Projects Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District.  In that role, he serves on the South Atlantic Division Implementation Team for Jurisdictional Determinations, assists with Nationwide Permit (NWP) re-issuance and Regional General Permit issuance, processes large and complex jurisdictional determinations, conducts NWP and Individual Permit reviews for road infrastructure projects, and investigates enforcement cases.  Mr. Kinney earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Marshall University in 2012 and a Masters of Science in Environmental Science from Marshall University in 2014.

James ChoateJames Choate  
Deputy District Counsel  
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

James Choate currently serves as the Deputy District Counsel for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District.  In that capacity, he routinely advises the Charleston District’s Regulatory Division on the District’s administration and enforcement of Section 404 of Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 in the state of South Carolina, as well as the District’s compliance with a host of other environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.  Mr. Choate is a member of the Florida Bar, and he holds a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law and a LL.M. in Environmental & Land Use Law from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.    


Registration Closed

Interested in purchasing access to this webinar?
Check out our webinar recordings in the Past Webinar Library!