Izaak Walton League Launches National Clean Water Challenge

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Healthy streams and rivers are vital to healthy communities, yet most Americans do not know whether their local streams are safe for swimming, fishing, or as sources of drinking water. The Izaak Walton League launched a national Clean Water Challenge today to mobilize and train volunteers to monitor 100,000 more stream sites for pollution by 2022.

Algal bloom

Algal bloom caused by nutrient runoff.

Our nation's water quality problems are serious – and solvable. And we are empowering volunteers to do it.

Healthy streams and rivers are vital to healthy communities. Yet most Americans do not know whether their local streams are safe for swimming, fishing, or as sources of drinking water. There is a critical need for up-to-date information about water quality at the local level. The Izaak Walton League launched a national Clean Water Challenge today to mobilize and train volunteers to monitor 100,000 more stream sites for pollution by 2022.

Threats to America’s water quality today are just as serious as when the Clean Water Act was passed – they’re just harder to see. Polluted runoff from farm fields, parking lots, industrial sites, and yards across America flows unchecked and untreated into our streams and rivers. It carries animal waste, bacteria, cancer-causing chemicals, and countless other pollutants through our communities.

Yet Americans have very limited information about water quality at the local level. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 80% of streams across America are not adequately monitored for pollution. And that’s only part of the problem. Of the fraction of streams that are monitored, EPA reports that more than half do not meet basic safety standards.

The nation’s water quality problems are serious – and solvable. The Izaak Walton League is empowering Americans to collect water quality information where they live. With training and support from the League, volunteers can collect reliable information about water quality in local streams, which is the critical first step in protecting and improving the nation’s waters.

The Izaak Walton League is a national leader in volunteer stream monitoring. In 1969, the League launched Save Our Streams (SOS), a program that gives volunteers simple tools to reliably assess the health of streams in their communities. Save Our Streams is a nationally recognized model for community-based water quality monitoring, and the League has engaged thousands of volunteers in this effort.

Every American has the right to clean water. Monitoring local streams is critical to finding and fixing water quality problems. To learn more about the Clean Water Challenge, visit the League’s website at iwla.org/challenge.

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Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America (http://www.iwla.org) protects America's outdoors through education, community-based conservation, and promoting outdoor recreation.

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Dawn Merritt
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