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Health of U.S. Streams Reduced by Streamflow Modifications and Contaminants

“A new USGS report [Ecological Health in the Nation’s Streams, 1993—2005] describes how the health of our Nation’s streams is being degraded by streamflow modifications and elevated levels of nutrients and pesticides. The national assessment of stream health was unprecedented in the breadth of the measurements—including assessments of multiple biological communities as well as streamflow modifications and measurements of over 100 chemical constituents in water and streambed sediments. “Healthy streams are an essential part of our natural heritage. They are important to everyone — not only for recreation and for public water supply and public health, but also for economic growth,” said USGS acting Director Suzette Kimball. “A broad understanding of the complex factors that affect stream health across the Nation will aid us in making efficient, long term decisions that support healthy streams.”

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