Dogs for Clean Water!

By Katherine Baer, Director of Science and Policy, River Network.
This post was originally published on River Network’s Science and Policy Blog
“So if when a first order stream and a first order stream come together they make a second order stream, what do you get when a second order stream and a second order stream come together?” I heard my scientist-husband ask my daughter. “A fourth order stream,” she responded like any arithmetic-focused kid.But what she did get was how many little first order streams there were around and the adverse impact that it has if you dump pollutants into them or erase them from the landscape altogether. Over 80% of our streams are these small, headwater streams, flowing into our drinking water sources and becoming our mighty rivers.

That’s why it’s such great news today that EPA has released the finalized and much anticipated Clean Water Rule (aka the rule formerly known as WOTUS). The rule clarifies what waters are protected under the Clean Water Act and restores protections for many of the two million stream miles that have been at-risk from pollution and destruction ever since a set of Court cases muddied things up.

There’s broad support for the clean water rule – over 80% of Americans polled were supportive. In addition to a long public comment period, EPA has listened to communities all around the country, making adjustments to the rule to make it as clear as possible.

Fifth graders like my daughter know what the robust science shows – upstream waters (whether it’s a first, second or third order stream or a wetland) and downstream waters are connected in many ways.

So, read it for yourself and take the time to celebrate and thank the Administration for their work to protect clean drinking water for us all.

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