Assumable Waters Sub-Committee


About the Assumable Waters Subcommittee

The Assumable Waters Subcommittee has been convened under the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT) to provide advice and recommendations on how the EPA can best clarify which waters a state or tribe assumes permitting responsibility for under an approved Clean Water Act (CWA) section 404 program.

CWA Section 404 establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredge and fill material into waters of the United States. Currently the U.S. Army Corps of administers the program in 48 states. The CWA allows states and tribes to assume the administration of the 404(g) program. No tribes and only two states have assumed these permitting responsibilities to date.  If a state or tribe is considering assuming such responsiblities, among the first questions that needs to be answered is for which waters will the state or tribe assume permitting responsibility and those waters the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will retain permitting authority. States have raised concerns to the EPA that section 404 of the CWA and its implementing regulations lack sufficient clarity to enable states and tribes to estimate the extent of waters for which they would assume permitting responsibility and thus estimate the associated implementation costs.

The EPA fully supports states and tribes assuming permitting responsibilities for the aquatic resources under their jurisdiction. Per the states' request for clarity, the EPA has established the Assumable Waters Subcommittee.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established the NACEPT in 1988 to provide independent advice to the EPA Administrator on a broad range of environmental policy, technology and management issues. The NACEPT is a federal advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

EPA recognizes that a vast array of environmental policy expertise exists outside the Agency in the public, private and non-profit sectors. NACEPT helps EPA access the knowledge, expertise, and experience that would otherwise be unavailable to the Agency. NACEPT provides a cost-effective and flexible forum that can quickly respond to continually evolving policy challenges. The Assumable Waters Subcommittee is one of several subcommittees under NACEPT.


Subcommittee members, like the parent NACEPT committee, serve as representatives from academia, industry, non-governmental organizations, and state, local, and tribal governments. Members will lend insight to how the EPA can best clairfy the waters that a state or tribe may assume permitting responsibility for under an approved CWA 404 dredge and fill permit program.

On September 8, 2015, Administrator Gina McCarthy appointed the following people to serve on this subcommittee. David S. Evans and Barry Rabe, Ph.D have been appointed to serve as co-chairs. Each member is representing the organization for which they work unless otherwise notated.

Collis G. Adams, CWS, CPESC
Wetlands Bureau Administrator
Land Resources Management
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
Concord, NH
Virginia S. Albrecht
Special Counsel
Hunton & Williams LLP
Washington, DC
Representing: National Association of Home Builders
Craig W. Aubrey
Division of Environmental Review
Ecological Services Program
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
Falls Church, VA
Trevor Baggiore
Division Director
Water Quality 
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
Phoenix, AZ
Laureen Monica Boles
NACEPT Liaison 
Philadelphia, PA
Peg Bostwick
Senior Policy Analyst
Great Lakes Office
Association of State Wetland Managers
St. John's, MI
David L. Davis, CPWD, PWS
Office of Wetlands & Stream Protection
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Richmond, VA
James P. DeNomie 
Tribal Consultant
Tribal Member of Bad River Chippewa Tribe of Lake Superior
Representing: Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes (MAST)
Hainesville, IL
Thomas Driscoll
Government Relations Representative
National Farmers Union
Washington, DC
David S. Evans (Co-chair)
Deputy Director
Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC
Kimberly Fish
Assistant Division Chief
Water Resources Division
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Lansing, MI
Richard D. Gitar
Water Regulatory Specialist/Tribal Inspector
Office of Water Protection
Fond du Lac Reservation
Cloquet, MN
Jan Goldman-Carter
Senior Manager
Wetlands and Water Resources
National Wildlife Federation
Washington, DC
Michelle Hale
Division of Water
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Juno, AK
William L. James
National Mining Expert
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville, TN  
Les Lemm
Wetland Conservation Act Coordinator
Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
St. Paul, MN
Susan D. Lockwood
Environmental Specialist 4
Division of Land Use Regulation
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Trenton, NJ
Eric D. Metz, P.W.S.
Planning and Policy Manager
Aquatic Resource Management Program
Oregon Department of State Lands
Salem, OR
Representing: Oregon Department of State Lands and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Barry Rabe, Ph.D (Co-chair)
Director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy.
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Dave Ross - (Resigned as of May 16, 2016)
Formerly - Senior Assistant Attorney General
Water & Natural Resources Division
Wyoming Attorney General's Office
Cheyenne, WY
Gary T. Setzer
Policy Advisor
Office of the Secretary
Maryland Department of the Environment
Baltimore, MD
Michael J. Szerlog
Aquatic Resources Unit
Office of Ecosystems, Tribal, and Public Affairs
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10
Seattle, WA
Jake Strickler, (Acting Designated Federal Officer)
Conflict, Prevention and Resolution Center
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC


Tentative meeting schedule. Unless otherwise noted, meetings will be held from 9 am to 5 pm each day. (Meeting dates are subject to change):

  • October 6-7, 2015 – Meeting 1

  • December 1-2, 2015 – Meeting 2
    Location: One Potomac Yard, Ground Floor
    2777 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202

Meeting Summary December 2015 - Final

  • March 15-17, 2016 – Meeting 3
    Location: One Potomac Yard
    2777 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202

March Assumable Waters Subcommittee Presentations and Workgroup Documents

  • June 7-9, 2016 – Meeting 4
    Location: Hyatt Arlington Washington's Key Bridge Note: change in meeting location
    1325 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209
Draft Agenda June 7-9, 2016, Meeting - Final agenda and meeting summary will be posted when approved by subcommittee.
  • September 28 and 29, 2016 - Meeting 5
    Location: Virtual Meeting from 1 pm - 4 pm each day. 

Draft Agenda - September 28-29, 2016, Meeting

Can I participate?  Yes, all meetings of this subcommittee are open to the public. This next meeting in September 2016, will be a virtual meeting with a limited number of phone lines available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Members of the public wishing to attend should contact Jacob B. Strickler via email at: or by phone at: (202) 564-4692 by September 20th, 2016, so we can ensure adequate phone lines are available.

The meeting can be accessed at this Web site: and via phone: (408) 638-0968 (US Toll) or (646) 558-8656 (US Toll). The meeting ID is 530 568 9032. More information on how to connect is in the Federal Register FRL9951-97-OW.Exit

Can I make a public comment? Yes, requests to make oral comments or to provide written comments to the Assumable Waters Subcommittee should be sent to Jacob B. Strickler via email at: by September 20th, 2016. Public comments will be heard at 3 pm EDT on September 28, 2016. 

  • Meeting 6 Tentatively scheduled for late January 2017. Information on date ant time will be updated here and published in the Federal Register.

Assumable Waters Sub-Sommittee Charge and Operating Procedures

Draft Charge(4 pp, 35 K) (.docx) 


Federal Register Notices

FRN Solicitation for Members (3-16-15)  Exit

FRN October and December Meeting Notice (9-15-15)  Exit

Note: the June meeting location in Washington, DC has moved to the
Hyatt Arlington Washington's Key Bridge
Location: 1325 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209

Statutes and Regulations

State and Tribal Program Regulations - Clean Water Act section 404(g)  

Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 Exit

  • "This regulation defines the term "navigable waters of the United States" as it is used to define authorities of the Corps of Engineers. It also prescribes the policy, practice and procedure to be used in determining the extent of the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers and in answering inquiries concerning "navigable waters of the United States." This definition does not apply to authorities under the Clean Water Act which definitions are described under 33 CFR Parts 323 and 328."

Legislative History documents related to Clean Water Act section 404(g)(1), including preambles and Congressional Conference Reports

Background Documents

Background documents have been provided by the sub-committee members, by the public and by the federal agencies at the request of the members.

ECOS Letter

Clean Water Act Section 404(g)(1)(1 pg, 23 K, 10-1-15)

The States' Choice: 404 Permit Program

This is a 1980 EPA document describing state assumption of the Clean Water Act 404 permitting Program

Graphic: Clean Water Act section 404 permitting authority for waters within a State or Tribe's jurisdiction

Draft Historical Timeline Leading up to CWA 404(g)(1)(3 pp, 50 K)

Rivers and Harbor Act Section 10 link for Assumable Waters Subcommittee

Want to get involved?

Each meeting will be publically noticed and will have a public input section. The public is encouraged to participate individually or raise ideas through organizations that have members on the subcommittee.

To listen to or provide public comment at any of these meets by conference call: Please register with Mr. Jake Strickler, Acting Designated Federal Officer (ADFO), by calling 202-564-4692. 
Note: There is a limited number of conference lines available.

For more information, please contact the ADFO, Mr. Jake Strickler, via e-mail at