Wondering About the Condition of Your Waterway?

Now There is a Way to Satisfy Your Curiosity

Wondering about the health of your local lake?  Is the neighborhood stream polluted?   What pollutants were found?  What is being done about it?

A nifty new website from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a way for everyone to check on the condition of local streams, lakes, and other waterway anywhere in the United States.  Simply click on How’s My Waterway to begin your easy search for reports on waterway in your area.

At this site you can check to find out if there is a water quality assessment of your local stream or lake and if so how are fish and other aquatic life forms doing?  Is the public drinking water safe, and are public health and welfare, or recreation affected by local water quality?

Here’s How

Go to  MyWaterWay to find information about your local waters.  You will be asked to either Use My Location or to Choose a Location.    You can choose a location by entering a zip code or a city/state and will be given a list of waterways within five miles of its center.

For example, I choose a location that led me to Lake Wingra’s  “Waterbody Report” for 2004, complete with an interactive map, a water body ID number, and a summary of the “Water Quality Assessment Status Reporting for 2004”.    Here I learned that Lake Wingra is “impaired” for fish and aquatic life. The source of this information comes from the EPA database of state water quality monitoring reports provided under requirements of the Clean Water Act.  “Causes of impairment” and “Probably Sources Contributing to Impairments” are also listed.   However, the categories for public drinking water; public health and welfare; and recreation were not assessed in this report.

As would be expected, the EPA MyWaterWay web site, has links to many data bases and information sources such as the Nitrogen and Phosphorous Pollution Data Access Tool, where we learn that nitrogen (not just phosphorous) is a problem for the health streams and lakes, or the EPA Waters Homepage, with links to Education and Training, Grants and Funding, and Laws and Regulations.

About Steve Glass

The blogger is a restoration ecologist, Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (#0093 SER) and writer living in the Midwestern United States.
This entry was posted in Lake protection, Lake Wingra, Lake Wingra Watershed, Lake Wingra Watershed management planning and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wondering About the Condition of Your Waterway?

  1. Thanks Steve
    We could do with something similar in the UK where many of our waterways are overgrown and through mismanagement, unable to remove their quota of rainfall. We have farmland areas flooded for weeks at a time in Somerset as an example.


    • Steve Glass says:

      Thanks for the comment Paul, it’s good to get the UK perspective on this. Some of our waterways are also overgrown but local friends and paddling groups have taken on the challenge to clean them up.

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