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American Whitewater Supports Clean Water Protection Rule

Posted: 11/13/2014
by Megan Hooker

Through Outdoor Alliance, American Whitewater joined today with the Outdoor Industry Association to speak up for clean water on behalf of the millions of Americans that recreate on and near our nation's rivers and streams. The organizations submitted joint comments in support of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers' proposed Clean Water Protection rule. The proposed rule was released last spring in response to rulings from the Supreme Court in 2001 and 2006 that created uncertainty about which waters are and are not protected by the Clean Water Act.

This uncertainty has left millions of miles of headwater streams at risk, including those that supply drinking water for 1 in 3 Americans. Those same streams offer world-class recreation opportunities that improve the quality of life and provide the economic foundation for countless communities. The proposed rule clarifies that these headwater streams are protected by the Clean Water Act, ensuring that outdoor enthusiasts have clean water where they recreate, and that fish and wildlife are protected. Protecting headwater streams and wetlands also improves water quality downstream, increases the ability of streams and rivers to provide important flood control functions, and ensures that businesses, municipalities and citizens downstream have the clean water they require to thrive.

According to a recent Outdoor Foundation report, 142.6 million Americans participated in outdoor recreation last year. The comments filed today note that "clean water and healthy headwater areas are particularly important for the outdoor industry and user community, who represent half of the American public, 6.1 million jobs and $646 billion in direct consumer spending each year."

Adam Cramer, Executive Director of Outdoor Alliance said, "Our members have primary contact with water as they swim in mountain lakes, drink from small streams, and paddle wild rivers. Ensuring that these headwater streams and wetlands are protected is a top priority for us."

Perhaps more than any other recreational group, kayakers, canoeists and rafters frequently come into direct contact with untreated river water. Kevin Colburn, National Stewardship Director with American Whitewater said, "When it rains and the snow melts, many of the streams that we boat on begin to flow. Unfortunately, pollution starts to mobilize at very best time to be out on the water–or, more accurately, in the water. It's important to American Whitewater's membership that these headwater streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act."

The effort to clarify Clean Water Act Protections is long overdue, and is vitally important to ensure that Americans have the quality of water that we have come to expect, both today and for future generations. As many of our members share the love of the outdoors with their children, we believe the proposed rule is all the more important for ensuring that the next generation enjoys the basic right to a healthy environment and safe access to river recreation.


Associated Projects

Clean Water Act
American Whitewater's advocacy to protect water quality.