The River Continuum Concept helps us see that a river is more than the sum of its parts. It is not a static body of water along a linear downstream pathway. It is a gradually changing continuum of environmental conditions that trickle, pulse, and meander water and sediment from mountains to the sea.
There are more than 3 million miles of streams in the contiguous U.S. Only 21% of those are considered in “good” condition. More than 50% of those stream miles are in “poor” condition.
These conditions were based on their ability to support a diverse community of aquatic organisms.
How Can We Restore Our Rivers?
To begin to restore our rivers to support the diversity of aquatic life at any point along the way, we must understand how the physical, chemical, and biological systems combine to create a continuum of interconnected ecosystems.