The Clean Water Act at 40: Still Critical to Great Lakes Restoration

Guest post from Jan Goldman-Carter, National Wildlife Federation Senior Manager, Wetlands and Water Resources

Forty years ago this October, Congress rallied to pass the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act – the Clean Water Act – largely in response to the collapse of aquatic life in Lake Erie and the flames on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River. In October 1972, Democrats and Republicans united “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters” from the headwaters to the estuaries. That bi-partisan Congress set this nation on a clean water path, enacting a comprehensive clean water framework, with uniform minimum water quality standards, strong federal-state partnerships, federal funding and support for research, technical assistance, water infrastructure, and enforcement.

What better place than Cleveland, on the banks of Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga, to celebrate 40 years of the Clean Water Act [link to EPA’s CWA 40 website:] and its phenomenal success in breathing life back into Lake Erie and in restoring the health of the Great Lakes?  What better place and time to take stock of the challenges ahead for Great Lakes restoration, the critical importance of a strong and effective Clean Water Act in securing our restoration investments, and the Clean Water Act policies, priorities, and grassroots action essential to Great Lakes restoration?

Our Clean Water Act at 40 workshop will do just that on the afternoon of September 12th at the Healing Our Waters Conference in Cleveland. If you can’t join us in person, look for the video on Great Lakes Now. Panelists Ellen Gilinsky of the Environmental Protection Agency, Kristy Meyer of the Ohio Environmental Council, and Jan Goldman-Carter of the National Wildlife Federation bring a wealth of clean water experience to this discussion from a national, regional, and Ohio perspective.  Together they will highlight the importance of Clean Water Act policies, programs, and grassroots action to Great Lakes restoration and lead a group discussion of priorities for the future.

Our photos: (Lake Erie, Port Clinton, OH Walleye fishing) (Cuyahoga at Rt 82 Brecksville)

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