[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 76 (Monday, April 21, 2014)]
[Pages 22275-22276]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-07131]

[[Page 22275]]

Vol. 79


No. 76

April 21, 2014

Part III

Department of Defense


Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers

Environmental Protection Agency


 Notice of Availability Regarding the Exemption From Permitting Under 
Section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Clean Water Act to Certain Agricultural 
Conservation Practices; Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 79 , No. 76 / Monday, April 21, 2014 / 

[[Page 22276]]



Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers


[EPA-HQ-OW-2013-0820; 9908-97-OW]

Notice of Availability Regarding the Exemption From Permitting 
Under Section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Clean Water Act to Certain 
Agricultural Conservation Practices

AGENCIES: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Department of the Army, 
Department of Defense, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of availability and public comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are announcing the availability of an 
interpretive rule to address the exemption from permitting provided 
under section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for discharges 
of dredged or fill material associated with certain agricultural 
conservation practices based on the Natural Resources Conservation 
Service (NRCS) conservation practice standards that are designed and 
implemented to protect and enhance water quality. While the 
interpretive rule is already in effect, the agencies recognize the 
importance and value of receiving public input on the implementation of 
this interpretive rule and welcome comments in response to this notice 
within the next 45 days.

DATES: Submit comments on or before June 5, 2014.

ADDRESSES: The interpretive rule, as well as a list of NRCS practices 
that meet the exemption, are available via the Internet on the EPA Web 
site: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/agriculture.cfm. 
EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-
HQ-OW-2013-0820. Publicly available docket materials are available 
either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at 
the Water Docket, EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 
Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC, Monday through Friday, excluding 
legal holidays. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone 
number for the Public Reading Room is 202-566-1744, and the telephone 
number for the Water Docket is 202-566-2426.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Damaris Christensen, Office of 
Water (4502-T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number 202-564-2442; email 
address: Wetlands-HQ@epa.gov or Mr. Chip Smith, Office of the Deputy 
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Policy and Legislation), 108 Army 
Pentagon, Washington, DC 22310; telephone number 703-697-4672; USACE_CWA_RULE@usace.army.mil or Ms. Stacey Jensen, Regulatory Community of 
Practice (CECW-CO-R), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 441 G Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20314; telephone number 202-761-5856; email address: 


I. Information About the Document

    Section 404(f)(1)(A) of the CWA exempts from section 404 permit 
requirements certain discharges associated with normal farming, 
silviculture, and ranching activities in ``waters of the United 
States,'' including wetlands. To provide additional clarity to farmers 
and to promote practices under the Agriculture Act of 2014 designed to 
improve water quality, the EPA and the Corps have signed an 
interpretive rule, ``Interpretive Rule Regarding Applicability of the 
Exemption from Permitting under Section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Clean Water 
Act to Certain Agricultural Conservation Practices.'' The interpretive 
rule was developed in coordination with the U.S. Department of 
    The agencies believe working together to improve the consistency 
and integration of these programs is fully consistent with the law, 
promotes the mutual objectives of our regulations and statutes, and 
increases clarity and predictability for the agriculture community. The 
result is good for the nation's waters and for farmers and foresters 
who want to protect the resources on their lands.
    The agencies have identified specific NRCS agricultural 
conservation practices that are appropriately considered ``normal 
farming'' activities and exempt from permitting under section 
404(f)(1)(A). The agencies and NRCS have also entered into a Memorandum 
of Understanding to guide their future coordination on the exemption. 
The list of practices, the Memorandum of Understanding, and the 
interpretive rule are available on the EPA Web site at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/agriculture.cfm and in the 
docket for this notice. The agencies seek comment on these documents 
within the next 45 days. The agencies and NRCS intend to periodically 
revisit and revise, if necessary, the list of exempt NRCS conservation 
practice standards. The agencies are particularly interested in 
receiving comments on how they might most effectively and efficiently 
conduct this periodic review and how best to revise the list of exempt 
NRCS practice standards. The agencies also request comment on how they 
can best work together and with NRCS to provide clarity to the 
regulated community and the public on the exemption.

    Dated: March 25, 2014.
Nancy K. Stoner,
Acting Assistant Administrator for Water, Environmental Protection 
    Dated: March 25, 2014.
Jo-Ellen Darcy,
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), Department of the Army.
[FR Doc. 2014-07131 Filed 4-18-14; 8:45 am]