Trout Unlimited released an interactive map today that illustrates the importance of intermittent and ephemeral streams – the small tributaries and headwaters that sometimes run dry throughout the year.
The map is aimed at helping citizens understand the risk of repealing the 2015 Clean Water Rule which clarified protections for intermittent and ephemeral streams. These are the small, seasonal streams that provide drinking water for one in three Americans, habitat for fish and wildlife and cold, clean water for our nation’s annual $887 billion outdoor economy. Small streams are also the conduits to larger streams and rivers – sending what’s upstream (good or bad) down to the rivers, lakes, bays and wetlands in our own backyards.
Repeal of the 2015 Rule would roll-back protections that were in place for the first 30 years of the Clean Water Act. After conflicting court interpretations created confusion about the extent of protections, the Clean Water Rule was developed to provide clarity and increased certainty regarding protections. The Rule was developed over a multi-year process with extensive public comment and scientific review.
By zooming in on their own community, users can see the important role these streams play in their community and the risks associated with not protecting them.
“Trying to protect our big rivers without protecting their tributaries is like trying to control your weight without watching what you eat,” said Jack Williams, senior scientist at Trout Unlimited. “It’s all about the inputs.”
The public can now comment on the repeal process. To send your comments, go to standup.tu.org.