Update on SMC's PJD's
To: Enforcement Officers, Certified Wetland Specialists and Other Interested Parties:
Effective December 23, 2019, the federal Clean Water Rule (CWR, 2015) is being repealed. What does this mean for the Jurisdictional Determination (JD) process in Lake County? Until further notice, the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) will perform preliminary wetland jurisdictional determinations (PJDs) following the previous definition of waters of the United States (WOTUS) recodified in CFR part 328.3(a) on October 22, 2019.
SMC’s wetland staff will perform PJD field reviews in the company of a representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Chicago District (USACE). Jurisdiction of WOUS will be determined following the WOTUS definition, along with any supplemental JD guidance provided by the USACE. Areas not meeting the WOUS definition will be considered Isolated Waters of Lake County (IWLC), unless a community’s enforcement officer (EO) determines that such areas meet the exclusion criteria listed under the definition of IWLC in Appendix A of the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance (WDO).
See SMC’s fillable form (PDF) for requesting a PJD and/or boundary verification of IWLC. If you have any questions regarding SMC’s PJD services, please contact our wetland specialists: 847-377-7718, or 847-377-7708.
The Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance (WDO) requires that wetland permit submittals include a written jurisdictional determination (JD) to ascertain if the delineated wetlands/waters on the site are Waters of the United States (WOUS) or Isolated Waters of Lake County (IWLC). Only the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)-Chicago District, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) or Lake County Planning, Building and Development Department (PBD); for unincorporated Lake County) are authorized to perform JDs in Lake County. SMC (and PBD) perform JD field reviews in the company of USACE representative(s) and generally issue JD letters within 30 days of receipt of a completed request form, field conditions permitting. See the PJD/BV Request Form (PDF).
Snow cover may preclude JD field observations and delay issuance of the JD letter. SMC and PBD charge a nominal review fee for processing JDs. The applicant may opt to request a JD directly from the USACE by submitting a completed request form to the USACE-Chicago District Regulatory Branch. See the USACE JD Request Form (PDF). The USACE does not charge a fee for JDs, but does not follow a specified time-line for JD review and issuance.
WOUS include “navigable waters” (i.e., major lakes, rivers, streams, and associated hydrologically-connected wetlands) that are regulated by the USACE under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) or Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA). For developments that will impact WOUS, the applicant must obtain a separate permit from the USACE. See Wetland Permits/Approvals for more information.
IWLC are defined in Appendix A of the WDO as “all waters such as lakes, ponds, streams (including intermittent streams), farmed wetlands, and wetlands that are not under U.S Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction.” For developments that will impact IWLC, the applicant must obtain written authorization from the SMC (or an IWLC-certified community) prior to issuance of a Lake County Watershed Development Permit (WDP). See Wetland Permits/Approvals for more information.
Boundary Verifications (BVs)
Either as part of a JD request or as a separate action, an applicant may request a written verification of the boundaries of wetlands/waters that have been delineated on a development site (refer to Wetland Determinations). BVs are recommended before delineated wetland boundaries are surveyed to avoid the possible need for re-survey, if adjustments are requested by the regulatory agencies (SMC, PBD and USACE) based on field observations. Note that SMC and PBD are only authorized to verify delineated IWLC boundaries (the USACE verifies WOUS boundaries). SMC and PBD charge a nominal review fee for IWLC BVs. To request a BV of delineated IWLC from the SMC, you need to submit a completed request form, along with required documentation (e.g., wetland delineation aerial photograph exhibit) and applicable BV review fee. See the PJD/BV Request Form (PDF).
To request a written boundary verification for delineated WOUS, you should submit a completed request form directly to the USACE-Chicago District Regulatory Branch. See the USACE JD Request Form (PDF).