Lincoln County Commissioners have sent a comment letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Corps of Engineers requesting renewal of regulations defining the waters of the U.S.

In the first paragraph of the letter it states, “The County is already comprised of more than 97 percent federally managed lands, and any further restriction and regulation on its very limited water resources could be a serious burden on our economy, citizens and way of life.”

Commission chair Ed Higbee told the Record, “Right now it deals primarily with navigable waters, but soon it will extend to all the (non-navigable) little ponds, streams, creeks, and reservoirs, natural or man-made. We are afraid it’s just going to be another layer of bureaucracy where they have more control over how we as the people deal with the very few waters that are in the state of Nevada. It’s going to give them another way to come in and work their way into private property, and we’ll be giving up more of our own powers to the federal government.”

The comment letter says Lincoln County does not support any changes that will further regulate agriculture and ranching; further regulate water sources used for farming and ranching; further regulate stormwater management and flood attenuation; and is not supportive of the current “Interpretive Rule” for farming, ranching and forestry protections.

The County also opposes any exceptions linked to existing NRCS Conservation practices, or that might require additional involvement of NRCS personnel, nor supports the concept that exemptions require NRCS approval of field verification.

As approved by Commissioners, the letter notes the county is also opposed to defining waters in a flood plain or riparian area without a significant nexus as a “water of the U.S.” And does not support the current broad definition of “riparian area”, and feels it should be eliminated from consideration altogether.

More items of concern are mention in the comment letter, Higbee said, “is just more attempted encroachment by the federal government.”