Policy and regulatory programs affecting wetlands and waters of the Mid-Atlantic region

James M. McElfish, Robert P. Brooks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Federal and state laws and policies determine which wetlands and waters are protected and which are not. More than a century of policy evolution has reflected growing understanding of the importance of wetland systems, while responding to economic and social pressures of a rising population with development expectations. Federal laws, chiefly the Clean Water Act, provide the most substantial regulatory framework governing what activities may take place in wetlands and under what conditions. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates the federal permitting program, which allows filling of waters and wetlands under individual, nationwide, or general permits, subject to requirements for avoidance, minimization, and compensation for impacts. Supreme Court cases in the first decade of the twenty-first century have made the application of the Clean Water Act to wetlands more complex, requiring science to try to answer legal questions. In the Mid-Atlantic Region, state laws also regulate activities in many wetlands and waters, with most states operating permitting regimes in addition to the federal system. Finally, other federal programs and international agreements provide additional opportunities for wetland conservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMid-Atlantic Freshwater Wetlands
Subtitle of host publicationAdvances in Wetlands Science, Management, Policy, and Practice
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781461455967
ISBN (Print)1461455952, 9781461455950
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)


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