This year’s changes to the Clean Water Act have made the already-challenging work of scientists and engineers in water planning and management exponentially more difficult.

Questions abound, from jurisdictional issues to definitions and classifications, as a result of the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” which, among other things, removes federal protections from ephemeral waterways (temporary bodies of water created by rain or snow).Further complicating the picture is the fact that wetlands assessment work has traditionally been done manually and can be painstakingly tedious.

In the past, scientists have had few new technologies at their disposal, and thus work was typically completed using low-tech methods (think clipboards and pens). This led to obvious challenges; work was time-consuming and adjusting for, for example, new regulations, was very difficult.View Article.