The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published on April 21, 2014 a notice of availability and public comment to announce the availability of an interpretive rule regarding the applicability of the exemption from permitting provided under section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for discharges of dredged and/or fill material associated with certain agricultural conservation practices based on the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation practice standards that are designed and implemented to protect and enhance water quality.
The public comment period on this was extended to July 7, 2014. The interpretive rule was effective on April 3, 2014.
Under the CWA, section 404 regulates the discharges of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S. and section 404(f)(1) includes a list of activities that are exempt from regulation under section 404.
Section 404(f)(1)(A) provides an exemption for discharges of dredged and/or fill material from “normal farming, silviculture, and ranching activities, such as plowing, seeding, cultivating, minor drainage, harvesting for the production of food, fiber, and forest products, or upland soil and water conservation practices.”
The rule clarifies that certain NRCS conservation practices that are designed and implemented to protect and enhance water quality are included under these “normal farming, silviculture, and ranching activities.”
Press Release, June 27, 2014