River Recreationists Rally to Support Obama Commitment to Clean Water

Implications of the Obama Administration's draft guidance clarifying the Clean Water Act protection for headwater streams are enormous. The public has 60 days to comment.

American Whitewater, the nation'sleading voicefor headwater rivers, is rallying river recreationists across the country to actively support President Barack Obama’s newly released national clean water framework. Guidance within the framework showcases the Administration’s comprehensive commitment to protecting the health of America’s waters.

American Whitewater’s National Stewardship Director Kevin Colburn explained that perhaps the most important component of the framework is draft guidance confirming that the Clean Water Act applies to headwater streams and related wetlands.The draft guidance will replace guidance published under the previous administration that had left virtually all of the nation’s headwaters at uncertain risk to pollution impacts.

“The recreational, ecological, and economic benefits of clarifying Clean Water Act protection for headwater streams are enormous,” said Colburn. “The initiatives outlined in this report will protect the quality of water in our taps, flowing through our communities, and under our boats.”

The nation’s headwater rivers and streams are particularly important in providing clean cold drinking water for millions of Americans.These same streams offer world-class recreation opportunities that improve the quality of life and economic viability for countless communities.

Kayakers and rafters spend more time in direct contact with headwater streams than just about anyone, which makes water quality very important to paddlers, Colburn explained. “This initiative promises to protect the safety of our rivers for paddling, fishing, swimming, and even just dipping your toes in,” he said.

River-dependent businesses are also taking notice."Our kayak manufacturing business requires healthy rivers and lakes where people are excited to take their families out paddling. The initiatives in this report help protect our business, our employees, and the recreational experiences that keep our customers healthy and happy," said Eric "EJ" Jackson, founder and president of Jackson Kayak, the global leader in whitewater kayak manufacturing.

The public will have 60 days to offer comments on the Administration's proposal to clarify and restore Clean Water Act protections. American Whitewater will be working with our members and partners in the coming weeks to send letters of support to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

ABOUT AMERICAN WHITEWATER. Founded in 1954, American Whitewater is the primary advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers throughout the United States. In order to achieve its mission to conserve and restore America’s whitewater resources and enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely, American Whitewater serves as a hub of information and activism for its members who comprise a broad diversity of individual whitewater enthusiasts, river conservationists, and more than 100 local paddling club affiliates across the United States.