Protect America's Waterways

What's at risk? More than half of America’s streams

Over the past decade, polluters and irresponsible developers have used the courts to put Clean Water Act protections in legal limbo, arguing that the law doesn’t cover the smaller streams and wetlands that feed and clean America’s great waters.

Right now, nearly 60 percent of America’s streams and 20 million of acres of wetlands are vulnerable to pollution and development, putting the drinking water for 117 million Americans at risk. Polluters can dump into streams, developers can pave over wetlands to build strip malls, and the cops on the environmental beat can’t do a thing about it.

On the verge of the biggest clean water victory in decades

This fall, the Obama administration took first steps to close the Clean Water Act loopholes and protect our waters. This is big news—we’re closer than ever to victory. But Big Ag and developers will be using all their power and resources to bring this progress to a standstill. To get these critical protections over the finish line, we’ll need to show President Obama that the American public overwhelmingly supports clean water.

Our plan to defend our rivers and streams

It is clear that if polluters win, our rivers and streams lose. And we know that we can’t compete with their lobbyists dollar for dollar. But the public is with us—and if we can prove that to our elected officials, we can win. That's why we’re bringing together Americans from all walks of life to protect our waterways. From farmers to scientists, from local officials to ordinary families, we all have a stake in keeping our water clean. 

Our citizen outreach staff has been knocking on doors across the nation, educating Americans about what’s at stake. So far, we've delivered more than 100,000 public comments in support of clean water.

But if we’re going to drown out the opposition and convince President Obama and the EPA to finalize a rule and protect our waters, we can’t let the momentum falter. Right now, we need everyone who cares about America’s waterways to get involved.

Issue updates

Report | Environment America Research and Policy Center

Summer Fun Index

Clean water is at the heart of summertime fun for millions of Americans. We swim at a favorite beach, fish in a nearby creek, sail or kayak on the bay, or simply hike along a beautiful lake or stream. As the summer draws to a close, Environment America Research & Policy Center’s second annual Summer Fun Index provides a numerical snapshot of people engaging in water activities.

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Blog Post

Paddling against the wind | Russell Bassett

For Margo Pellegrino — who recently completed a 1,700 mile journey from New York to Chicago in an outrigger canoe — advocating for clean water can be like “paddling against the wind on a windy day.” Now that she’s back home in Medford Lakes, N.J., she’s not slowed down any in her quest to protect our waterways and ensure clean water for all Americans. 

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Blog Post

Clean water not green water | Russell Bassett

Last year at this time, the toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie caused nearly half a million people in and around Toledo, Ohio, to be without safe drinking water. Clean water from our taps is something that many of us take for granted, but if we don’t protect our water sources — like the residents of Toledo discovered — we won’t be able to take it for granted anymore.

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Video Blog

A father’s guide for conservation through outdoor fun

This Father’s Day we’re celebrating the many fathers who instilled an appreciation for the great outdoors — specifically a respect for clean water — in their children by taking them hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, or just swimming in the local watering hole. The more children connect with the outdoors and local waterways, the more likely they are to respect and value wild places — creating the next generation of environmental stewards. 

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Blog Post

Inspiring for clean water one paddle at a time | Russell Bassett

Margo Pellegrino, a solo-paddler currently in the midst of an epic journey in her outrigger canoe, is inspiration personified. Pellegrino is a paddler with a purpose. She’s raising awareness of watershed issues that impact our drinking water health, and way of life. Instead of doom and gloom, Margo’s message is one of hope — that the problems our waterways face can be fixed. 

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