Jennie Bricker is an experienced attorney licensed in Oregon and Washington. Her practice focuses on the land, the shore, and the water—and the laws and regulations affecting them. See a list of representative projects…more
Jennie Bricker is a natural resources attorney with expertise in obtaining permits for projects that affect waterways and wetlands. She is also an experienced water law attorney…more
In collaboration with Harrang Long P.C., Jennie Bricker offers support to clients in litigation and appeals…more
Trained in a large Portland law firm, Jennie Bricker offers high-level legal expertise. Learn more about Jennie Bricker’s experience, education, publications, and presentations…more
The U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in May, Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, narrowed the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction to regulate wetlands. After Sackett, only wetlands directly adjoining a waterway can be regulated, not wetlands that are neighboring, or nearby.
The Oregon Department of State Lands described the decision as “a source of heartache and confusion for people who care about protecting wetlands.” In Oregon, DSL administers the Removal-Fill Law, originally enacted in 1967 to prevent unregulated gravel mining from rivers. Oregon requires a Removal-Fill permit for most activities that affect wetlands, whether or not they also fall within federal CWA jurisdiction.
According to DSL, Oregon was home to an estimated 2.3 million acres of wetlands before the 1700s. Now, that number is 1.4 million acres. We know that wetlands provide important ecological functions, like filtration of pollutants and habitat for birds, frogs, salamanders, and a host of other wildlife. But in the 18th and 19th centuries, wetlands were nasty swamps, best dealt with by draining and filling and reclaiming them for useful purposes. Along the marshy areas of Upper Klamath Lake, for example, settlers created tillable croplands by constructing berms to confine lake waters and dry out fringe wetlands. In recent years, some of those agricultural lands have been purchased by conservation organizations, who blasted apart the berms to recreate the original marshlands.
One wonders what the landscape, and the regulatory landscape, will look like in the 22nd century.