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Owyhee River, Oregon. Photo: Bonnie Moreland, April 2018
As the impacts of the pandemic continue, our best wishes for good health and well-being go out to all of you, your friends, families, and colleagues. In addition to providing updates on key water resources issues, this email also provides links to resources designed to help your organizations and families during this pandemic. Please reach out to us at if you have additional resources that you would like to share with the network, or suggestions for actions the network can take to help support your work during this national emergency.

Table of Contents

Rule Under White House Review to Limit State and Tribal Authority

In yet another attack on the Clean Water Act, the EPA recently submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a final rule that would severely limit states' and tribes' authority to protect their waters under Clean Water Act Section 401. Section 401 authorizes states and tribes to stop or impose restrictions on federally-permitted or federally-constructed projects that would have unacceptable impacts on water quality. The EPA’s rule would undermine this authority by limiting the reasons states and tribes can reject or place conditions on projects, and shortening the time for states and tribes to act or request additional information on a project. Review by the Office of Management and Budget paves the way for the release of the final rule, which is expected in May 2020.
Learn more:

America's Most Endangered Rivers® of 2020 Announced

WPN member American Rivers released its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®. This year’s report highlights ten rivers imminently threatened by climate change, poor floodplain and watershed management, wetland destruction, dams, mining, or natural gas development. The 2020 America’s Most Endangered Rivers® are:
  1. Upper Mississippi River, IL, IA, MN, MO, and WI
  2. Lower Missouri River, IA, KS, MO, and NE
  3. Big Sunflower River, MS
  4. Puyallup River, WA
  5. South Fork Salmon River, ID
  6. Menominee River, MI and WI
  7. Rapid Creek, SD
  8. Okefenokee Swamp & St. Marys River, FL and GA
  9. Ocklawaha River, FL
  10. Lower Youghiogheny River, PA
In addition to announcing the nation’s ten most endangered rivers, American Rivers honors the Delaware River as "River of the Year." The title highlights the success story of the Delaware River - once choked with sewage and industrial pollution and craved up by dams, but now on the mend and thriving.

The annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® report identifies ten rivers at a crossroads, where key decisions in the coming year will determine the rivers’ fates. Rivers are chosen for the list based on the following criteria: 1) A major decision (that the public can help influence) in the coming year on the proposed action; 2) The significance of the river to human and natural communities; and 3) The magnitude of the threat to the river and associated communities, especially in light of a changing climate. Over the years, the report has helped spur many successes including the removal of outdated dams and the prevention of harmful development and pollution.

Help urge decision makers to do the right thing for each of the rivers on the list: Click here to take action and share with your networks and membership.

Federal Agencies Continue Business as Usual Amidst Pandemic

Federal agencies are continuing to advance projects and permits to the public comment stage despite the current public health crisis. The Corps of Engineers rejected a number of requests - including this letter to the Corps signed by many WPN members - for a blanket pause on Environmental Impact Statements and rule makings during the pandemic. Last week, the Department of the Interior released interim National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) guidance, which shows that it plans to continue to push through NEPA reviews during the crisis. However, the Corps and other agencies may be willing to extend public comment periods on an ad hoc basis—and the WPN recommends that any letters requesting an extension highlight the problems that the current pandemic poses for providing meaningful opportunities for public comment.

Take Action Against EPA's Secret Science Rule

At a time when the importance of sound science-based decision-making is painfully clear, the Trump administration has proposed a rule that would impose sweeping restrictions on the types of scientific studies that can inform the regulatory decision-making process. Instead of "strengthening transparency" as the proposal claims to do, it is instead designed to "keep highly respected and peer-reviewed scientific studies from informing government decisions on public health and environmental protection" (Bruce Stein, NWF).

Resources for People and Nonprofits in the Pandemic


Other Selected Resources & News



If you would like to share news, resources, or something else in future WPN Updates, please email

Federal Policy Update

On March 27th, Congress passed and the president signed into law a $2 trillion stimulus package - the third legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of Congress have not yet reached agreement in their negotiations for a fourth stimulus package. Later bills may feature a heavier focus on infrastructure, including water infrastructure. Congress is currently on recess, with the House planning to return no sooner than May 4, while the Senate's planned April 20 return date may be delayed.

Despite the recess, Congressional staff continue to work on the next Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), the bill that authorizes projects and policy changes for the Corps of Engineers. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held a hearing for member requests on February 27th. You can find a video of the hearing, as well as links to members' written requests on this page.

Recent Public Notices

The list below is non-comprehensive list of Corps of Engineers public notices from the Federal Register and Corps district websites, and select notices from other federal agencies. Please visit, Corps division and district websites, and other federal agencies' websites for additional public notices. Click here for examples of comments and letters submitted to the Corps by WPN members.

Corps of Engineers Notices

Other Agency Notices
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