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

Blog Post

All quacked up for wetlands | Russell Bassett

Without wetlands, ducks would be, well, sitting ducks. All of North America’s duck and goose species depend on wetland habitats for breeding, rearing, and/or for resting and foraging along their migratory flyways.  Despite the many important reasons for protecting our remaining wetlands, in the last decade, wetlands have actually lost protection. 

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Report | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Shelter from the Storm

Wetlands are more than just scenic parts of America’s natural landscape. They are also home to wildlife and perform many vital functions that protect the health of our waterways and communities. Of crucial importance for our towns and cities, wetlands also offer flood protection by absorbing large amounts of water that may fall during a storm before releasing it slowly into the environment. 

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News Release | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Report: Clean Water Act loophole corresponds to loss of wetlands

WASHINGTON, D.C.– A loophole in the Clean Water Act is correlating with a dramatic turn in loss of wetlands, putting communities at risk from damaging floods, a new report says. 

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News Release | Environment America

More than 740,000 Americans support clean water

Bladensburg, MD—More than 740,000 Americans support a plan to restore Clean Water Act protections to 2 million miles of rivers and streams, a coalition of conservation organizations and clean water advocates said today. Joined by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, Environment America and allies presented their comments to federal officials along the banks of the Anacostia River just outside of the nation’s capital.

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