Population Growth Continues to Threaten Fragile Estuaries, Rivers, Lakes and Waterways Across the Country
Alexandria, VA (August 9, 2018) – First off, Americans have a deep and historic love for their rivers. As well as estuaries, lakes and waterways says NPG President Don Mann.
But are they loving them to death? We place enormous and at times conflicting demands on the nation’s tens of thousands of waterways.
For example, pure water for drinking and industrial use, plant and home sites. Let’s not forget inexpensive bulk shipping, fishing and boating recreation.
Then we have expanding population centers and even spiritual and aesthetic values such as permanence, beauty, and serenity.
Mann, along with many Americans, asks where do the country and its waterways stand? As well, more than four decades after the historic Clean Water Act of 1972 (CWA)? Let’s not forget adding more than 100 million people since then. He calls attention to a relevant new NPG Forum Paper, Population Threats to America’s Rivers, Estuaries and Lakes by NPG Researcher Christopher Daly.
Mann and the author hail the environmental spirit and good intentions of the CWA. Also and its considerable remediation of U.S. waterways. However ask whether these gains have been diminished by 45 years of rapid population growth?
However, will the U.S. commitment to the health of its waterways survive? Meaning to survive in an era of tight budgets, anti-regulatory politics and the addition of 100 million or more residents by 2060, climate change? Plus, the continued addiction to the creed of “growth at all costs?” So in defending its vulnerable waterways against the ravages of “progress” we need to ask: is the U.S. “shoveling sand against the tide?”
So given the magnitude of America’s waterways, the author’s brief paper examines these dilemmas. Mann also looks at the remedies. Remedies to be applied by looking at the experience of a small number of representative case studies. However, not all of his examples are large rivers. Therefore he examines the Connecticut (New England) and Cape Fear (North Carolina) rivers. Both struggling with multi-source pollution and intense current and prospective urbanization of their watersheds.