Learn About the Clean Water Act

Photo credit: Merritt Frey.

The Clean Water Act is a central tool in the work of the River Habitat Program. For more than a decade now, we have helped watershed leaders understand and effectively implement the Clean Water Act, our nation’s law with the largest potential for protecting and restoring more rivers and watersheds than any other law.

The Clean Water Act is a powerful law that explicitly empowers citizens to participate in its interpretation, implementation and enforcement. But many of its strongest provisions are little understood and poorly applied. River Network helps concerned citizens identify and make the most of greatly underutilized public involvement opportunities.

Our tools focus on the practical – What are states doing to implement the Act? What has worked in other watersheds around the country? How can broad national policies really be translated into on-the-ground benefits for your local river?

We also offer one-on-one consultation to help watershed groups dive in on relevant and timely issues. From reviewing permits to providing comments on restoration plans, we can help you understand, analyze and take action on the important issues in your watershed. The following online resources can help you become Clean Water Act-savvy right away:

  • Take the online course: this interactive course walks you through the key programs of the Act, and how to use them at home. The course is a GREAT place to start if you're new to the Act.

  • View the Clean Water Act Owner's Manual: put the lessons of the course, associated reference material and more at your fingertips with this one-of-a-kind resource!

  • What works: case studies – learn about the power of the Clean Water Act through the stories of other watershed and river groups.

  • Antidegradation database – learn how the main Clean Water Act policy for keeping clean waters clean works in your state. This tool focuses in on the details of antidegradation for an intermediate to advanced audience.

  • Read the full Clean Water Act: go to the source!