Rivers and streams suffering

More than half of American waterways in poor condition

More than half the streams and rivers in the U.S. are in poor condition, a national survey of waterway health finds.

Conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the survey analyzed water samples taken from more than 1,900 randomly selected sites in the summers of 2008 and 2009 and found that only about a fifth of the nation’s rivers and streams were in good ecological condition, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Of the three regions (eastern highlands, plains and lowlands, and the West) covered in the report, the West was in the best shape—42 percent of its river and stream length was in good condition, 27 percent was in fair condition and 30 percent in poor condition.

Excessive nitrogen and phosphorous, sedimentation, and denuded riverbanks were leading problems, and 9 percent of rivers and streams had unsafe bacteria levels.