The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to remove Clean Water Act (CWA) protections from small streams and wetlands across the United States, protections that have helped improve water quality since 1972.
The Rivanna Conservation Alliance (RCA) monitors water quality throughout the Rivanna River basin (68 sites, collecting more than 300 samples annually, covering hundreds of stream miles). According to Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ), “RCA is the only citizen monitoring organization in Virginia that collects and reports data on benthic macroinvertebrates and E. coli at the same level of quality as VADEQ. With RCA’s help, the Rivanna River is one of the best monitored watersheds in the Commonwealth.”
Because of the unique role RCA plays in protecting water quality, we are convinced that this proposed “Dirty Water Rule” will jeopardize more than 55,000 miles of streams and hundreds of thousands of wetland acres in Virginia, including the 760 square miles of the Rivanna River watershed and its thousands of miles of streams and associated wetlands. Because localities do not have wetlands ordinances, the quality of life provided by our watershed relies on state and federal protections.
Over the past several years our region has experienced historic flooding, resulting in loss of life and damage to land, homes, and farms. Reducing the protection of wetlands, nature’s best defense against flooding, runs counter to the responsibility of the federal government to promote our general welfare. In addition, small streams and wetlands are the lifeblood of our waterways, providing clean drinking water, supporting fishing, hunting, and swimming, and creating habitat for a variety of federally threatened and endangered species.
The resulting degradation of water quality from this proposal to redefine the “waters of the United States” is bad for the nation, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and our local community.
Please join RCA in registering your concerns about this damaging water rule. The deadline for comments to EPA is April 15, 2019. Visit ProtectSouthernWater.org to submit your comments.
Board Chair, Chief Executive