Environmental regulators are starting work on broad new rules about the number of streams, brooks and ponds they are able to regulate.

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was releasing a draft report from its independent science advisory board showing the way that smaller estuaries, wetlands and other bodies of water are related to larger lakes and rivers.

That report amounts to a first step by the agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to allow the EPA to establish its authority over those smaller bodies of water.

The EPA says those new rules are necessary to clear up confusion about which waters it can regulate under the Clean Water Act caused by two recent Supreme Court cases.