Colorado Legislature Passes Enhanced Wetlands Protections

The bill would reinstate protections for wetlands and seasonal streams eliminated by a 2023 Supreme Court ruling.

1 minute read

May 15, 2024, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Wild grasses and Reeds in wetlands with the backdrop of Blanca Peak, sacred to the Navajo People, Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado.

Wetlands in Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado. | John Nakata / Adobe Stock

Colorado legislators approved a bill that will extend new protections to the state’s streams and wetlands after the U.S. Supreme Court reduced protections for wetlands last year, reports Daniel C. Vock in Route Fifty. “The issue of wetland regulations is particularly poignant in Colorado, where two-thirds of the state’s waters are temporary in nature and lack year-round flow, according to a friend-of-the-court brief the state filed in the Supreme Court case.” 

Last year’s ruling, which states that “the Clean Water Act only applies to wetlands that have a continuous surface connection to bigger bodies of water,” makes states responsible for enacting — and funding — more stringent regulations that apply to non-contiguous wetlands and seasonal streams.

According to Vock, “Roughly half the states relied on federal rules to determine what waterways they would regulate for dredging and filling activities before the Supreme Court ruled, according to an analysis by James McElfish, an attorney at the Environmental Law Institute.”

Friday, May 10, 2024 in Route Fifty

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