Environment - Water Quality, Wetlands, & Floodplains

Van Ness Feldman counsels and assists clients on a diverse range of water quality, wetlands, and floodplains matters which involve the intersection of complicated technical issues with federal, state, and local regulatory requirements. The firm’s attorneys provide strategic advice regarding permitting and compliance, coordinate technical experts, and litigate before administrative boards and state and federal courts to advance clients' interests.   

The firm serves a diverse clientele, which includes leading water and electric utilities, real estate investors and developers, ecosystem traders, mitigation banks, clean technology companies, natural gas and oil production and pipeline interests, renewable energy project developers, federal lands concessioners, and municipalities.

Members of the firm’s environmental team have significant experience with the following:

  • Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 water quality certification orders
  • Individual, general and nationwide permits under CWA 404
  • Preparation of practicable alternatives analyses under section CWA 404(b)(1) guidelines
  • Federal wetland jurisdictional determinations and appeals
  • Floodplain boundary determinations and permitting
  • Groundwater contamination
  • Reclaimed water
  • Isolated wetlands, prior converted croplands, and farmed wetlands
  • Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Wetland mitigation, restoration, and preservation projects
  • Local Critical Areas permitting
  • Local Shoreline Management Act permitting
  • NPDES permitting
  • State waste discharge permitting
  • Federal administrative appeals (EPA and Corps)
  • State administrative appeals (Pollution Control Hearings Board, Hydraulics Board, Shorelines Hearings Board, Growth Management Hearings Board)
  • State water quality and coastal zone management certifications

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Erin K. Bartlett


Washington D.C.


ekb@vnf.com / vCard

Brent Carson




brc@vnf.com / vCard

Duncan M. Greene




dmg@vnf.com / vCard

Tadas A. Kisielius




tak@vnf.com / vCard

Jason Larrabee

Senior Policy Advisor

Washington D.C.


jlarrabee@vnf.com / vCard

Molly A. Lawrence




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Ray Liaw




hrl@vnf.com / vCard

Anne E. Lynch


Washington D.C.


alynch@vnf.com / vCard


EPA Issues New Emergency Response Requirements for Community Water Systems

Federal Guidance on Section 404 Permitting Under Development

D.C. Circuit Holds that States Cannot Use Section 401 Authority to Delay Hydropower Relicensing

Federal Agencies Release the New Clean Water Rule to Replace "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) Rule

Final Corps Guidance Issued on Section 408 Permitting

Court Reinforces Finality of Water Rights Determinations and Avoids Ownership Dispute

Obama Era WOTUS Rule Reinstated in Washington State (For Now)

WOTUS Rule Reinstated in 26 States After Court Enjoins Delay

FEMA Adopts Significant Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program ("NFIP") Under the Rubric of a "Clarification"

Corps Issues Draft Guidance on Section 408 Permission Requests, Solicits Comments

EPA and Corps Amend Effective Date of WOTUS Rule, Open Door to Legal Challenges

Supreme Court Rules that District Courts Retain Jurisdiction Over "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) Rule

EPA Proposes to Amend Effective Date of WOTUS Rule

Western Water/Growing Cities: An Examination of 11 States' Approach to the Issue

EPA Proposed Rule to Rescind Definition of "Waters of the United States"

Trump Executive Order Starts Review and Potential Revision of the "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) Rule

Second Circuit Reinstates EPA's Water Transfers Rule

Army Corps of Engineers Releases 2017 Nationwide Permits

Obama Administration Seeks Tribal Input on Federal Infrastructure Decisions, Dakota Access Litigation Continues

EPA Expands Tribal Authority to Administer Clean Water Act Programs on Reservations

Part of a Host of New Administration Initiatives Addressing Tribal Issues

Army Corps Proposes Renewal of Nationwide Permits for Work in Waters of the U.S.

When it Comes to Wetland Mitigation, Choose Wisely

Rural Water Strategies: The Saga Continues

Washington's Extreme Drought Stresses Water Users, Regulators, and Legal System

Federal Agencies Release Final "Waters of the United States" Rulemaking, Sending Ripples Through the Regulated Community

President's Executive Order Expands Regulated Floodplain to Account for Climate Change

Proposed Rule Redefining Jurisdictional "Waters of the United States" Under the Clean Water Act – Comment Period Closes, but Questions Remain Open

Federal Agencies Issue Long-Awaited "Waters of the United States" Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Clean Water Act Jurisdiction


Clearer Picture Emerging on Proposed Rule Redefining Jurisdictional Waters of the United States


Critical Infrastructure: 2018 Cybersecurity Year in Review/2019 Year Ahead Analysis