To achieve the Clean Water Act’s goals, prioritize upstream ecology

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Ensign, S.H., D.B. Arscott, M. Daniels, C. Dow, J.K. Jackson, D. Oviedo-Vargas, and M. Peipoch. 2024. Water Resources IMPACT 26(3): 19–21.

This article is not peer-reviewed.

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Progress toward achieving the goals of the Clean Water Act has slowed, and states are not getting the ecological benefits they demand from their rivers. Attempting to reduce only a few pollutants at regional scales is not working for our largest waterways. Restoring the aquatic health of small rivers should be considered a prerequisite for restoring larger rivers, lakes, and bays downstream. By prioritizing ecological restoration of smaller waterways, we can more precisely target local causes of ecological degradation, more accurately and rapidly measure response, and potentially achieve many more miles of ecological restoration closer to local people who benefit the most.