Op-Ed: An epic victory in the battle for free-flowing rivers
The new federal regulations are here. They are aimed squarely at controlling the waters of our rivers, streams and rivers; those of the world. They have put an end to the free-flowing nature and character of our rivers in these United States.
The federal agencies charged with regulating the nation’s waterways are the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1970, the Clean Water Act, the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA). The law requires that each waterbody of the world be monitored and measured to insure that the maximum use is made of that water and that proper wastewater treatment systems and water monitoring and testing programs are implemented at all times.
Our rivers carry so much water, so many nutrients, so many aquatic life that the water may not be clean, not only biologically but legally.
Now the federal government is regulating our rivers to make sure they are no longer free to flow according to their natural order.
The Endangered Species Act
This is part of a bigger story about how we have turned our waterways into an industrial stream. I have written about the impacts of industrial discharges in previous articles, but this piece is intended to focus on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and its impact on our native fish and plants in rivers.
The ESA was passed in 1973 as a response to the oil spill at the Exxon Valdez in Alaska. There were over 3,000 species recognized as threatened with extinction at the time. The act was introduced as a response to a species protection initiative for wolves. The wolf is at the top of the “most wanted list” for the ESA due to the extinction of their population and the threat to their habitats. The wolf population in Alaska is less than 500 and has dwindled to less than 7,000.
While the ESA has been successful to date in preventing the extinction of species listed under the act and protecting rare, threatened, and endangered species, there are still species that are listed under the act that are being depleted, are threatened with extinction, and/or are endangered.
One of the more dramatic species that is listed as endangered under the