49th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act

an aerial image of a bridge over the potomac river
Credit: Hugh Kenny/PEC

The Clean Water Act was passed the same year the Piedmont Environmental Council was founded, in 1972. The landmark law provides a set of broad goals, national minimum standards and processes to move toward improved water quality. Today on its 49th anniversary, we want to reflect on the way much of our conservation work comes back to water.

Here is what we are doing to protect our rivers, streams and watersheds:

  • incorporating Clean Water Act goals into planning for land use and conservationn
  • engaging, educating and empowering PEC constituencies to improve water quality through land best management practices, from installing cattle fencing to planting rain gardens
  • reviewing permitting for individual projects and infrastructure with the potential to negatively impact our rivers and streams
  • conserving wetlands, groundwater recharge areas, springs and other critical lands
  • restoring riparian areas by planting buffers of native grasses, trees and shrubs
  • improving stream habitat for aquatic wildlife by removing barriers to water flow and fish migration
  • encouraging conservation of water use
  • advocating for more investment in wastewater treatment and stormwater management
  • improving public access to rivers and streams
  • fighting threats from pipelines, and uranium and metals mining operations
  • coordinating with local, state and regional partners like the Choose Clean Water Coalition to support the policies and budgets needed to protect and improve water quality

We all need to invest in clean water. For more on our clean water work, visit pecva.org/water