The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a draft version of its “National Rivers and Streams Assessment”—a survey of the ecological condition of nearly 2,000 U.S. rivers and streams conducted during the summers of 2008 and 2009 by EPA and its state and tribal partners.

According to the report, “21% of the nation’s river and stream length is in good biological condition, 23% is in fair condition and 55% is in poor condition.” The report assessed four chemical stressors and identified phosphorus and nitrogen as “by far the most widespread,” with 40 percent of stream length exhibiting “high levels of phosphorus” and 28 percent showing “high levels of nitrogen.” The report states that the information collected “suggests the need to address the many sources of these stressors—including runoff from urban areas, agricultural practices, and wastewater—in order to ensure healthier waters for future generations.”