First-ever Study Finds Only 28 Percent in Good Condition

WASHINGTON (May 5, 2006) -- In a first-ever survey, the Environmental Protection Agency said today that only 28 percent of shallow streams in the continental United States are in good condition.

The study, which creates a baseline on the biological condition of streams shallow enough to sample by wading, said 25 percent are in "fair" condition and 42% are in "poor" condition.

"The most widespread pollution problems identified were excessive nutrients, which rob waters of oxygen necessary to sustain life, and sediment, which interferes with wildlife and plant growth," said Nancy Stoner, director of NRDC's Clean Water Project.

"This study underscores the critical need to clean up and protect entire stream systems in order to prevent downstream Dead Zones like the Gulf of Mexico,'' Stone said.

"There isn't much to brag about when we're up to our knees in pollution that is detrimental to fish and other aquatic life. Unless we are satisfied with streams that contain only the most tolerant species, such as carp and leeches, we'd better start investing more in clean water," Stoner said.