It all started with two challenges to the Clean Water Act, one, in 2001, from a solid waste disposal company in Illinois that wanted to fill in some old sand and gravel mining pits, and another, in 2006, from a Michigan real estate developer named John Rapanos who filled wetlands to build a shopping mall. Both challenges went all the way to the US Supreme Court, and in both cases, the Court decided that the Clean Water Act, which had been assumed to protect almost any waterway, actually protected only the "navigable waters of the United States," waters large enough to provide for the transportation of people or goods. In the wake of those decisions, thousands of miles of tributary creeks, springs and isolated wetlands that create those navigable waters - and provide much of the drinking water for the nation- are left unprotected. So are the prairie potholes and lakes that are the major nurseries for waterfowl. The Supreme Court, of course, did not say that those waters should not be protected- it simply ruled that, as the law was written, it did not protect them.