Report: Fifty-Five Percent Of U.S. Rivers Unfit For Aquatic Life

220px-Kalamazoo_RiverWhile we have been recently discussing the environmental meltdown in China, including unimaginable river pollution, it is important to keep in mind our own environmental problems. A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency captures how bad the situation is for our surface water. Fifty-five percent of U.S. river and stream lengths were found to be in poor condition for aquatic life due to fertilizers and other runoff.

The EPA has found harmful levels of phosphorus and nitrogen as well as runoff from urban areas that have continued to degrade our 1.2 million miles of streams and rivers. With candidates like Romney calling for reduced environmental controls, such studies show the cost of such short-sighted policies. Only 21 percent of our river and stream resources were found to be in good condition — a six percent drop from 2004.

In addition to this degradation, we continue to loose underground drinking water at an alarming rate. The EPA report puts the lie to arguments that our regulations are trying to achieve some utopian environmental world. We are losing ground or, in this case, water due to our lack of commitment to cleaning the environment for this and future generations.

Source: NBC

43 thoughts on “Report: Fifty-Five Percent Of U.S. Rivers Unfit For Aquatic Life”

  1. Gyges, Thanks for the music, they have been playing on YouTube on another tab for awhile. I had to watch “Clap Your Hands” though, it was practically a flashback. Good stuff.

  2. it pisses me off to no end that i cannot trust the rivers in my native Maryland. I like to eat the fish i catch.

  3. Gyges,

    What pete said. Good tunage. And I’m a little envious. I could never get the hang of playing slide. 😀

  4. Gyges

    spent the last couple of hours listening to the rev.and his band. amazing what talented people can do.

  5. Bron,

    Sorry, in my last post: “though over very long periods of time chemical erosion does have an influence.”

    should be:

    “though over very long periods of time chemical and mechanical weathering does have an influence.”

  6. David B, lol! 😆

    It’s a good idea to get the aquatic life out of the rivers. THOSE FISH ARE DIRTY!

  7. Bron,

    Diabase is also referred to as dolerite, which is different from granite, though in common usage the words overlap. Both dolerite and granite are of igneous origin as opposed to sedimentary or metamorphic.

    The difference is mineral and lattice composition. Granite is a felsic rock where the mineral constituents are quartz, feldspar, and mica. Dolerite is a mafic rock more akin to basalt with the primary minerals being magnesium and iron. They are both dense.

    No matter the composition of your “bedrock” the soil more likely reflects erosional patterns over time, typically wind and water, though over very long periods of time chemical erosion does have an influence.

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  9. gbk:

    that sounds very interesting and makes sense. Where I live we have a shallow depth to rock, no more than 5-10′, the rock is a very hard diabase [is that the right term? A fine grained granite] which decomposes into a very plastic clay. Which means, at least from an engineering perspective, they shrink and swell based on water content. I would assume due to particle size, which is quite small.

    Anyway, we only have 3 main types of trees, white oak, red oak and hickory. There are a few pines, the big tall ones with only a small canopy at the tip top, a smattering of red bud and dogwood and an occasional maple. The majority of the forest around our house is composed of the 3 main types. I always wondered if the soil had anything to do with it, I cant say I thought about the parent material of the soil, until you mentioned your study, other than the shallow depth to rock.

  10. Gene,

    There’s some old saw about living and service, but it’s been awhile, so I don’t quite remember it.

    This may destroy my Geek-cred, but I’ve never gotten into Game of Thrones. I’ve heard about the beer, but haven’t seen a bottle.

    It’s good to be back, I think the extended break did me some good. Things are about the same as always (although I did pick up a nice electric, and am looking for more excuses to play it). We’re all o.k. The World’s Happiest Toddler is now the World’s Happiest Kid, and the baby is now The World’s Fiercest Toddler.

  11. Gyges,

    Yes, I did, although life plays an integral part in the carbon cycle. I’ll check out Sagan’s book too. I have yet to be disappointed with one of your suggested readings. BTW, good to have you back. And completely OT, but have you tried the Game of Thrones inspired beer Iron Throne Blonde Ale? I’ve been keeping an eye out for it here, but no luck as of yet (although I did finally find a place with a decent beer selection). I hope all is well with you, the Mrs. and the tykes.

  12. “Good answer. It’s amazing how many people don’t understand that the lithosphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere are very interactive.”


    You left out biosphere.

    You should check out Dorian Sagan’s Into the Cool which describes life in terms of thermodynamics. It’s well worth it.

  13. Bron,

    You’re welcome.

    “It is fascinating how everything is interconnected in some way.”

    It truly is. I’m currently doing remote sensing work for the National Park Service. I’m using historic Landsat data along with more recent satellite data to categorize vegetation type over time at one specific park with a reference base of geologic formation and soil type obtained from the USGS.

    After this is done the plan is to integrate historical weather data and produce interactive maps that show the effect of weather on broad vegetative patterns along with impacts on soil (essentially, the erosion rate).

  14. gbk:

    thanks for the info. It is fascinating how everything is interconnected in some way.

    I recently saw a PBS show on earth’s climate where they used sattellite imagery to “see” the various systems by different methods.

    One of the more interesting observations was that a dry lake bed in Africa fertilizes the Amazon Rain Forest by the dust blown from this lake across the Atlantic.

    WINDBLOWN dust from a dried-out African lake that was once the size of California is nourishing rainforests in the Amazon and algae in the Atlantic.

    Previous modelling studies estimated that the Bodélé depression in Chad, which formed when the largest lake in Africa dried out about 1000 years ago, is responsible for about 56 per cent of the dust from Africa reaching the Amazon, amounting to millions of tonnes per year.

  15. Gene,

    “Good answer. It’s amazing how many people don’t understand that the lithosphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere are very interactive.”

    Yeah, btw, it’s called Earth for short. 🙂

  16. gbk,

    Good answer. It’s amazing how many people don’t understand that the lithosphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere are very interactive.

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