The settlement follows the Supreme Court's rejection Monday of developers' appeals contesting decisions by corps districts to assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction over ditches leading to larger waterways.
As a result of the Seattle settlement, the corps' Northwestern division will spell out on its website the requirement that developers get permits and follow proper mitigation requirements when their projects affect canals and ditches connected to navigable waterways or wetlands protected by the Clean Water Act. It also agreed to post information about any decisions not to protect streams or wetlands.
In that case, an Oregon environmental group sued an irrigation district for putting herbicide into its canals without obtaining a Clean Water Act permit. The court found in favor of the environmental group, ruling that the canals were "waters of the United States" because they received water from natural streams and lakes and diverted water to streams and creeks. Because of that, the court said, Clean Water Act rules and regulations applied to the canals.