EPA Assessment: Majority of Rivers and Streams in United States Cannot Support Healthy Aquatic Life





Half of All U.S. Rivers Are Too Polluted for Human Health

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has released the results of the first comprehensive survey looking at the health of thousands of stream and river miles across the United States, finding that more than half – 55 percent – are in poor condition for aquatic life.

The survey found that 23% of river and stream miles are in fair condition; while 21% are in good condition and support healthy biological communities. The graphic reproduced below indicates that conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains are better than any region of the continental United States.

“The health of our Nation’s rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters depends on the vast network of streams where they begin, and this new science shows that America’s streams and rivers are under significant pressure,” said Office of Water Acting Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner. “We must continue to invest in protecting and restoring our nation’s streams and rivers as they are vital sources of our drinking water, provide many recreational opportunities, and play a critical role in the economy.”

The leading problems are nutrient pollution and habitat degradation. “These conditions make rivers and streams more vulnerable to flooding, contribute to erosion and allow more pollutants to enter waterways,” states the Fact Sheet issued by the US EPA.


To Learn More:

To download a copy of the Draft Report that has been released by the United States EPA for public comment, click on National River and Streams Assessment. And to download a 2-page Fact Sheet, click here.