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Water: Watersheds

What is the Health of my Watershed?

Twenty-five years ago Congress took a bold step to maintain and restore our Nation's waters by enacting the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, now known as the Clean Water Act. The Nation has made outstanding progress toward our goals of clean water and safe drinking water - as a result of the cooperative efforts by Federal, State, Tribal, regional, and local governments, volunteers, and people in private enterprise. If we are to maintain steady progress, we must continue the work of monitoring and identifying water quality problem areas.

We can best understand the overall health of aquatic systems on a watershed basis. Using watersheds, we can take a broader view of the environment, which is complicated and interconnected with our activities across local and regional scales.

The following are national initiatives to characterize water quality and watershed conditions in the United States. To fully understand and manage water quality at all levels, use these initiatives in combination with other, more detailed State, local, and watershed information.

The National Water Quality Inventory Report to Congress
This report informs Congress and the public about general water quality conditions, as submitted by 58 States, American Indian Tribes, Territories, Interstate Water Commissions, and the District of Columbia.

Impaired Waters under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act
Learn the status of waters not meeting the Clean Water Act goals of "fishable, swimmable" despite the fact that nationally required levels of poluution control technology have been implemented by many pollution sources. Individual watershed maps of the latest Impaired Waters information are available onwatershed and state level pages.

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