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National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Forest Roads

EPA has decided that no additional regulations are needed to address stormwater discharges from forest roads under the Clean Water Act at this time.

State, federal, regional, tribal government, and private sector programs already exist nationwide to address water quality problems caused by discharges from forest roads. Many of these programs have been improved and updated in recent years. Program implementation rates are generally high and have been shown to be effective in protecting water quality when properly implemented. These programs employ a variety of approaches that are tailored to address regional and local differences.

EPA has concluded that efforts to help strengthen existing programs would be more effective in further addressing forest road discharges than superimposing an additional federal regulatory layer over them.

Regulatory and Legislative History

February 2014

Congress amended the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 402(l) via the 2014 Farm Bill. Section 12313 of the 2014 Farm Bill (PDF)(357 pp, 820 K, About PDF):

  • Prohibits the use of NPDES permits from specified silviculture activities that are conducted in accordance with standard industry practice.
  • Retains EPA’s authority to use a non-permitting regulatory options under Section 402(p)(6) of the CWA.
  • Prohibits the use of citizen suits for programs established for silviculture under Section 204(p)(6) of the CWA.
  • Retains CWA Section 404 authority, existing permitting under CWA Section 402, and requirements of other federal law.

December 2012

September 2012

May 2012