Event Title

Can a New Clean Water Act Rule Improve the Physical, Chemical, and Biological Integrity of the Nation’s Waters?'

Presenter Information

Charles Hawkins

Location

Ellen Eccles Conference Center Audiorium

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu

Start Date

3-31-2015 8:15 AM

End Date

3-31-2015 8:35 AM

Description

The goal of the 1972 amended Federal Water Pollution Control Act (or the Clean Water Act) is “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters”. The interim goal of the CWA was for all of the Nation’s waters to be fishable and swimmable where possible by July 1, 1983. Forty plus years after passage of the CWA, the interim goal has not been met. Moreover, only recently (starting in 2004) have we been able to produce meaningful estimates of the biological, chemical, and physical condition of the Nation’s waters. Those estimates indicate that less than 56% of lakes and 21% of streams and rivers are in good biological condition. The primary stressors or pollutants associated with degraded biological conditions include physical habitat alteration, excessive levels of nutrients, excessive fine sediments, and other pollutants. Initial estimates for streams and rivers indicate conditions may be becoming worse rather than improving. Part of the reason for the generally poor condition of these waters may be that many water bodies are not necessarily protected by the CWA. The Nation’s waters were originally defined as navigable waters. Subsequently, they were defined as all waters with a significant nexus to navigable waters, which implied that non-navigable water bodies that supply water, sediments, and chemicals to larger downstream or downslope waters should also be protected and restored. Meeting the broad goals of the CWA will depend not only on how accurately we assess, monitor, and manage the country’s streams, lakes, and wetlands, but which water bodies we determine are subject to CWA protection.

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Mar 31st, 8:15 AM Mar 31st, 8:35 AM

Can a New Clean Water Act Rule Improve the Physical, Chemical, and Biological Integrity of the Nation’s Waters?'

Ellen Eccles Conference Center Audiorium

The goal of the 1972 amended Federal Water Pollution Control Act (or the Clean Water Act) is “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters”. The interim goal of the CWA was for all of the Nation’s waters to be fishable and swimmable where possible by July 1, 1983. Forty plus years after passage of the CWA, the interim goal has not been met. Moreover, only recently (starting in 2004) have we been able to produce meaningful estimates of the biological, chemical, and physical condition of the Nation’s waters. Those estimates indicate that less than 56% of lakes and 21% of streams and rivers are in good biological condition. The primary stressors or pollutants associated with degraded biological conditions include physical habitat alteration, excessive levels of nutrients, excessive fine sediments, and other pollutants. Initial estimates for streams and rivers indicate conditions may be becoming worse rather than improving. Part of the reason for the generally poor condition of these waters may be that many water bodies are not necessarily protected by the CWA. The Nation’s waters were originally defined as navigable waters. Subsequently, they were defined as all waters with a significant nexus to navigable waters, which implied that non-navigable water bodies that supply water, sediments, and chemicals to larger downstream or downslope waters should also be protected and restored. Meeting the broad goals of the CWA will depend not only on how accurately we assess, monitor, and manage the country’s streams, lakes, and wetlands, but which water bodies we determine are subject to CWA protection.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2015/2015Abstracts/1