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Home » The Clear Water Act at 50 and What it Means for Birds

The Clear Water Act at 50 and What it Means for Birds


This week, we’re celebrating the Clear Water Act’s 50th birthday—and half a century of defending America’s waters. It’s onerous to overstate how important this laws was and is in decreasing the quantity of air pollution flowing into our rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. Right here at Audubon, we all know birds and communities want entry to wash water, which is why this bipartisan laws is so important—making certain clear and ample water in rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and marshes in landscapes the place that is paramount to birds’ survival. And meaning defending the Clear Water Act now and into the long run.

It’s simple to take the Clear Water Act as a right, so let’s take a look at what it really does for individuals and birds.

Along with empowering federal companies just like the U.S. Environmental Safety Company to manage the quantities of air pollution flowing immediately into streams and waterways, the Act protects small streams, wetlands and intermittent streams which are hotspots for fowl life and important to making sure water high quality in downstream rivers and bigger water our bodies. Wetlands cowl roughly 110 million acres within the continental United States and are indispensable habitat for a whole lot of species of birds, together with the Bald Eagle, Wooden Stork, Northern Pintail, American Bittern, Semipalmated Plover, Prothonotary Warbler, and plenty of extra birds, fish, and wildlife. These waterways additionally filter air pollution and supply consuming water for greater than 117 million People or about 33 % of the nation.

Birds require the clear water and thriving ecosystems present in and round wholesome water our bodies to outlive. They don’t simply depend upon the water itself, however on all the areas alongside rivers, streams, shorelines, water in depressions within the panorama, the soil, in addition to the fish, bugs, and crops throughout all the watershed. To offer this necessary useful resource for birds, floor waters will need to have ample stream and be the suitable depth for the feeding or resting behaviors of assorted fowl species. Wetlands and streams have to be allowed to flood or be inundated with water at applicable intervals, whether or not common, intermittent, or seasonal, so as to restore water ranges, replenish helpful vitamins within the soil, and help important vegetation. Clear, accessible water is important to birds for fish, insect and plant meals sources, wholesome breeding habitats, ample safety from predators, and mandatory resting factors throughout migration, nesting, and elevating their younger.

Wetlands particularly are important for fowl well being and inhabitants stability. Roughly one-third of North American fowl species, together with the Nice Blue Heron and Brown Pelican, use wetlands for meals, shelter, or breeding. Some 138 and subspecies of birds in the US are designated as “wetland dependent.” These birds embrace cranes, grebes, herons, kingfishers, loons, owls, perching birds, pelicans, shorebirds, falcons, and waterfowl. This record contains 27 varieties of geese, from the Wooden Duck to the Blue-Winged Teal, 20 varieties of gulls and terns, 17 varieties of herons, seven varieties of Warblers, egrets, bitterns, and plenty of different species depend upon wetlands of many varieties in each area of the nation.

Based on the newest State of the Birds Report, a long time of funding in wetlands are producing a optimistic development for waterbirds, geese, and diving birds. A lot of this success is because of impactful coverage measures that complement the Clear Water Act, just like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and U.S. Farm Invoice conservation applications. Regardless of the entire wonderful benefits of the Act and the way it has cleaned our waterways over time, it has confronted challenges through the years and continues to return underneath risk from courts and politicians with an especially slender view of the Clear Water Act. Over the previous few years, the authorized definition of which streams may be regulated left many waterways with out the right protections. Which means that wetlands all through the nation are prone to unchecked improvement, threatening communities and birds who depend upon these assets for clear water.

Fortunately, sturdy coalitions exist that proceed to champion the Clear Water Act and the protections it gives for birds and folks. Audubon is proud to affix with our conservation, recreation, enterprise, and different companions to help the Act and strengthen it by way of sound science, coverage, and advocacy.

Birds are telling us that we have to do extra to make sure their survival—and ours. Over the following 50 years, Audubon will proceed championing the federal legal guidelines that defend our water, air, land, and wildlife.


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