U.S. streams in sad shape, says EPA analysis

It’s Monday and most of the streams in the U.S. are in bad shape. Can we go back to bed? A U.S. EPA study finds that 42 percent of “wadeable” U.S. streams are in poor condition, 25 percent are fair, and only 28 percent are good (OK, math geeks, 5 percent were not analyzed because of sampling problems). Streams running between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean fared the worst, with 52 percent listed as poor. And the blame goes to: human sewage, erosion, and logging and farming practices that pollute streams with nitrogen and phosphorus. “The data collected through this study will help support better water-quality protection,” said the EPA’s Benjamin Grumbles, whose name we never tire of. None too soon, says Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group: “We passed the Clean Water Act 35 years ago, and this is the first time we’ve taken a look at our small rivers and streams.”