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Entries in 2008-2009 National Rivers and Streams Assessment (1)


Over 50 Percent of U.S. Rivers Are In Poor Health, Says A Newly Released EPA Survey

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finally released the most recent data on the health of about 2,000 rivers and streams from across the country – and the results aren’t pretty.

The New River originates in Mexico and flows into the United States through Calexico, California. The river eventually meets up with the Salton Sea, a large inland sea. The New River is reported to be the most polluted river flowing into the U.S. from Mexico, says the California Report. Photo courtesy of the California Report.

States and tribes participated in the data collection, and found that 55 percent of the country’s rivers and streams are in poor condition based on their ability to support life.

The information was published in a collaborative survey report called the 2008-2009 National Rivers and Streams Assessment. The report looked at random samplings from river systems as large as the Mississippi River to as small as mountain headwater streams.

The report looked at how major stressors – both chemical and physical – are affecting these aquatic systems over time.

Chemical stress factors on the rivers and streams included excessive levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and mercury.

To begin with, the report showed that 28 percent of the country’s rivers and streams had excessive levels of nitrogen, and 40 percent had high levels of phosphorus.

Known as nutrient pollutants, the EPA explains that too much nitrogen and phosphorus in water can cause significant increases in algae that can harm water quality, food resources, habitats, and decrease the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive.

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