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324C2EA2BB4CDBB587258AE6004B5B57 Hearing Summary


Date Mar 20, 2024      
Location HCR 0112

Wetlands, WOTUS, and Colorado's Role - Committee Discussion Only

07:43:07 AM  

Gabe Racz,  Partner, Vranesh & Raisch, and Colorado Water Congress Water Quality Representative, discussed the history of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), the definition of navigable waters and dredge and fill permitting. He told the committee about the various U.S. Supreme Court cases that have changed WOTUS definitions and how wetlands are or are not included under different federal rules. He spoke about the "significant nexus test" and how it has been used to determine which wetlands would be included under WOTUS, and concerns that have come up over the use of this test.  

07:57:21 AM  
Mr. Racz responded
to questions from the committee about what is considered adjacent to wetlands
and how human made structures affect this, the need for clearer definitions,
and state decisions on this topic.  
08:04:05 AM  
Nicole Rowan, Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment - Water Quality Control Division,
presented to the committee. She spoke about wetlands and ephemeral streams
and what these include and how the change in the definition of navigable
waters and how dredge and fill permitting has changed water quality management
of wetlands and ephemeral streams. She discussed what other states across
the U.S. have done when it comes to dredge and fill permitting, and what
CDPHE has done with stakeholder engagement on the permitting process. She
told the committee about the WOTUS task force that met and what sort of
new permitting program could be developed.  
08:15:13 AM  
Ms. Rowan responded
to questions from the committee regarding "gap" waters and the
state's definition of these, definitions from the Attorney General on state
waters, and the loss of state wetlands over time.

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details