Army Corps faces challenges to levee vegetation policies

Vol. 43 No. 5

Jason Rylander is a senior attorney with Defenders of Wildlife. He is counsel to that organization in the pending California lawsuit against the Corps.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is facing multiple lawsuits over its new policy announced in an Engineering Technical Letter (ETL) that prohibits vegetation on and near levees in California and across the country. Engineering Technical Letter No. 1110-2-571 Guidelines for Landscape Planting and Vegetation Management at Levees, Floodwalls, Embankment Dams, and Appurtenant Structures (Apr. 10, 2009). Environmental groups are also challenging the Corps’ related Notice of Process for Requesting a Variance from Vegetation Standards for Levees and Floodwalls, 75 Fed. Reg. 6364 (Feb. 9, 2010), which enforces and implements the ETL, and a Draft Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact for its variance policy.

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