In November, the Fifth National Climate Assessment was issued and it has more troubling news for our nation’s waters. The Assessment concludes that “[c]limate change will continue to cause profound changes in the water cycle, increasing the risk of flooding, drought, and degraded water supplies for both people and ecosystems. These impacts will disproportionately impact frontline communities.”
The Assessment further states that “water infrastructure standards and management policies have been slow to meet the new challenges.”
This Assessment comes at a particularly sobering time. In May, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Sackett v. EPA where it effectively rolled back fifty years of bi-partisan protections for wetlands and smaller streams. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Sackett decision effectively eliminates federal pollution and destruction protections under the Clean Water Act for 63% of the nation’s wetlands and up to 5 million miles of the nation’s streams.
These waters are the filters and sponges of our aquatic systems. They are nature’s way of keeping our water clean and storing water on the landscape that would otherwise flood communities and low-lying areas. Read more