Effects of the SWANCC and Rapanos Supreme Court Rulings
Colorado, Tennessee, Montana and South Carolina waters at risk
This series of reports highlights the threats to local waters and wetlands in four states under regulatory guidance resulting from two Supreme Court Cases.
Compiled by the National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and Trout Unlimited, the reports identify case studies where the loss of Clean Water Act protections has put local waters in Colorado, Montana, South Carolina and Tennessee at risk for pollution, unrestricted drainage and destruction.
Colorado Waters and Wetlands
This report provides an overview of the waters at risk in Colorado and documents cases in Colorado where important waterways have lost basic federal pollution protections or been placed at risk because of the confused state of the law. Included among these waters are wetlands that feed tributaries of the South Platte River, Hidden Lake and its associated wetlands, the playa wetlands in northeastern Colorado, and other waters under siege from development.
It is almost certain that these waters would have been protected prior to the 2001 and 2006 Supreme Court decisions that weakened the Clean Water Act.
“There are examples of threatened waters and wetlands all over the state,” said Jim Murphy of the National Wildlife Federation.
Read the full Colorado report
Tennessee Waters and Wetlands
Tennessee has one of the richest diversities of wildlife in the nation and a vast array of important waters, from mountain trout streams, to major tributaries of the Mississippi River, to vast wetlands relied on by ducks and other waterfowl. However, due to recent legal developments, up to 60 percent of the state’s stream miles and half of its 787,000 remaining acres of wetlands may no longer be protected from pollution and destruction under the Clean Water Act.
This report provides an overview of the waters at risk in Tennessee. Included among these waters are wetlands associated with a vital tributary to the Tennessee River, a wetland impacting Tennessee’s treasured Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge, and wetlands under siege from development.
Read the full Tenessee report
Montana Waters and Wetlands
This report provides an overview of the waters at risk in Montana and documents cases in Montana where important waterways have lost basic federal pollution protections or been placed at risk because of the confused state of the law. Included among these are a valuable wetland next to a famed trout river; a geographically isolated wetland with potentially important habitat values; and a wetland that may be geographically isolated, but likely has other important hydrological and ecological connections to water quality and wildlife habitat.
Montana contains a portion of the Prairie Pothole Region, an area that contains many small, shallow ponds and wetlands that are critical to waterfowl and wildlife and important on a continental scale.
Read the full Montana report
South Carolina Waters and Wetlands
This report provides an overview of the waters at risk in South Carolina and documents two specific cases in South Carolina where important waterways have lost basic federal pollution protections or been placed at risk because of the confused state of the law. Included among these are a large coastal wetland in the Murrells Inlet area in Horry County (known as the “Spectre Wetland”) and almost 500 acres of wetlands in the Black Tom Bay area in Berkeley County (known as the “Pine Hill Tract”) that eventually feed into Charleston Harbor. Protection of coastal and headwater wetlands such as those highlighted in the report will be particularly vital for the ability of people and wildlife to adapt to impacts from climate change such as rising sea levels and more intense precipitation events.
Read the full South Carolina report