Redefining Waters of the US: a Case Study from the Edge of the Okefenokee Swamp

An image of a map of the Okefenokee swamp, with numbers showing the sizes of different parts of the body of water.

IRIS affiliate Dr. Rhett Jackson, John Porter Stevens Distinguished Professor of Water Resources in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and colleagues, recently published a case study highlighting the impacts of the 2020 ruling to replace the Clean Water Rule with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule on the Okefenokee Swamp, a Georgia swamp that lost federal protection under the new ruling.

The article, “Redefining Water of the US: a Case Study from the Edge of the Okefenokee Swamp,” was published in Applied Wetland Science, and it found that application of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule may allow for the degradation and destruction of socially and ecologically important wetlands.

Wetlands are a form of natural infrastructure that provide numerous benefits to surrounding communities and ecosystems, acting as giant sponges that absorb and purify water, store carbon, and provide habitat for economically and ecologically important species.

To learn more, you can access the article here.