Nevada’s rivers and streams show progress in newest list of impaired waters

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the State of Nevada’s list of waterways in need of protection, and proposed adding portions of two rivers in northeastern Nevada.

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Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California

The federal Clean Water Act requires states to assess their rivers, lakes and coastal waters, and submit a list of impaired waterways to EPA. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection previously developed cleanup plans, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads, to address pollutants in over 100 perennial river miles and over 80,000 lake acres. State and federal water quality standards have since been attained for approximately half of those impairments.

”Clean water is essential to the health of Nevada’s residents, economy and wildlife, especially during times of drought,” said Tomás Torres, EPA’s Water Division Director for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA works in close partnership with the state of Nevada to identify waterways in need of added protection so that residents can enjoy the many picturesque rivers and lakes that Nevada has to offer.”

Nevada monitored 6,500 miles of perennial streams and 228,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs, and the data shows that over 2,500 miles of streams and 80,000 lake acres do not achieve water quality standards, primarily because of an excess of nutrients, toxic metals, or high temperatures.

EPA is proposing to add a section of the South Fork Humboldt River and a revised section of the North Fork Little Humboldt River to the impaired waters list based on elevated levels of mercury in fish that may pose health concerns to people consuming fish caught in those waters.

To view Nevada’s 2014 list of impaired waters and comment on EPA’s action to add waters for mercury in fish tissue, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region09/water/tmdl/nevada.html

Source:  USEPA, For Immediate Release: April 7, 2016

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