A new proposal from the Trump administration poses a big threat to San Francisco Bay and to local drinking water.
If it’s adopted, the rule could erase Clean Water Act protections for streams and creeks that flow only when it rains or when the winter snow melts. A polluter could be free to contaminate the water flowing in a creek if that creek, during another part of the year, usually goes completely dry.
Protections could also be slashed for marshes that aren’t connected above ground to a stream, creek, or river—even if they connect underground.
When Baykeeper’s staff scientist Ian Wren investigated the proposal, he found that over forty percent of the Bay Area’s stream miles—and over sixty percent of the creeks across California—could lose protection.
Many of those streams flow to creeks and rivers that eventually lead into San Francisco Bay. Some supply reservoirs that are the drinking water source for millions of people in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Some are the spawning grounds for endangered fish species, including endangered salmon.
And many creeks and streams that could lose protection are already threatened by pollution and development.
“The quality of the fresh water flowing into the Bay has been steadily improving since the Clean Water Act was adopted in 1972. The Trump administration’s new rule would reverse a lot of that progress. They are only catering to corporate interests,” says Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh.
Fortunately, Baykeeper is part of a nation-wide alliance to fight this proposal. We are a founding member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, and along with our fellow Waterkeeper organizations across the US, we’re working to put a stop to Trump’s destructive plan. We’ll keep fighting for healthy, protected waterways in California and beyond.