The Clean Water Act Framework
The following section provides an overview of the main components of the CWA framework as well as specific guidelines for ensuring planned growth and development (as outlined in the land use plan of the comprehensive plan) supports implementation of these CWA framework components.
Local governments have authority for comprehensive land use planning decisions and implementation, using various tools, while MDE has authority for protecting and restoring water resources. Due to the fact that land use decisions have a direct impact on water quality, it is critical that local planners consider water quality impacts early in the planning process to avoid conflict with MDE’s authority for water quality restoration and protection. The primary goal of the WRE is to promote consistency between these two authorities. Without careful land use planning and implementation of strategies for avoiding, minimizing, mitigating or offsetting growth impacts, many of the goals of the CWA cannot be achieved.
Figure 1 below illustrates the major components of the CWA framework and is color coded or grouped by the major components of that process.
Figure 1: Framework and Regulatory Process