Basically, it discharges, eventually, into the Rio Grande, said William Oberle, project manager with the Corps Albuquerque District regulatory division. Its a tributary, to make it simple.
Using that as a criterion for having jurisdiction over private property, anyone who has rain fall on his property could be a target. - Tom
NOTE: “Trial Access” firewall to read entire article from link.
Another UN Agenda 21 moment at the Corps of Engineers.
It’s a over-interpretation of the Clean Water Act regulations.
For example, a city or community discharging treated wastewater into a dry arroyo is required to obtain an EPA NPDES permit even if the water does not reach a flowing surface water body. And, of course, to get that permit the state of New Mexico will add on all sorts of additional monitoring requirements as set for in the Water Quality Control Commission Surface Water Regulations (e.g. ammonia, chlorine residual, etc.). An example is the City of Santa Fe which discharges to the Santa Fe River (dry below the city’s reservoirs except during high storm runoff).
To avoid that, many communities make use of total retention ponds and re-use/sell the water for park watering/crop irrigation. The absurdity is that any wastewater discharged to a dry arroyo first has to be chlorinated (to kill the microbial bugs) then de-chlorinated to protect any critters that have taken up residence in the formerly dry arroyo that is now wet!
In the oil patch, when a company has a spill, the required spill report to the state agency has a section that asks: “Was a watercourse reached?” If “yes” a whole set of additional information is required and maybe notification to the Coast Guard’s National Response Center even if the spill doesn’t reach an actual body of water.
The Corps of Engineers comes into the picture when you want to do any construction in a water course such a building a highway bridge over a river. This requires a permit from them and of course protests by environmental groups can easily cause delays especially if the bridge might impact a wetland.
Again it gets sticky when the state DOT wants to widen an existing highway and reconstruct bridges or culverts over dry arroyos which require cut and fill. I don’t know how that is handled.
Bottom line is that current regulations cover all water courses (dry included) as a “water of the US” though the original enabling legislation referred to them as “navigable waters.” It’s way past the time for the courts to put a stop to such overreaching of the feds and hopefully this lawsuit will accomplish that.