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Paddlers Protecting Clean Water


Our favorite stories about public lands and opportunities for you to get involved in protecting your outdoor experiences.


Paddlers Protecting Clean Water

Tania Lown-Hecht

From your favorite multi-day river trip to your favorite local creeking run, clean water is a vital part of your outdoor adventures. As kayakers, rafters, and canoeists you experience our nation's waters more directly than most. You’re on the water and in the water, and sometimes it’s all encompassing. 
With a few exceptions, we usually boat on streams and rivers that flow seasonally or are rain-dependent. This means that when flows pick up, sediment and pollution also start to move. As paddlers, we need headwater streams and tributaries to remain protected from pollution under the Clean Water Act. 
However, these streams and the tributaries and wetlands connected to them have been in regulatory limbo since 2001 and 2006, when two Supreme Court decisions undermined historic Clean Water Act protections. These decisions left 60% of the nation's headwater streams and millions of acres of wetlands vulnerable to pollution and degradation. Not only are these the same streams that we boat on, but they also provide drinking water for one in three Americans. 
The proposed Clean Water Protection Rule is the best option for protecting these streams and rivers. The rule was proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers in 2014, and is based on over 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific articles and extensive public comment. The conclusion is clear: what happens upstream truly affects what happens downstream and we need the Clean Water Protection Rule to protect the places we paddle. 
Unfortunately, some are doing all they can to stop the rule. Critics would have you believe that clean water will be bad for business, but those of us who enjoy the outdoors know that healthy rivers don’t just feed our personal passions. They are an important part of a $646 billion outdoor recreation economy.  
Our time on the water brings us adventure, solitude, community and connection to something bigger than ourselves. To keep having these experiences, we need to protect the quality of the water in these rivers. The best way forward is through the Clean Water Protection Rule. 
You can help protect the rivers you love! Take action and learn more by visiting American Whitewater.