The future of the Clean Water Rule is in our hands.

The EPA wants to reduce protections for headwater streams.

Stand up for clean water today!

Whether you fish or just simply understand the value of clean water, there is no law more important than the Clean Water Act. In 2015, the EPA developed a rule that affirmed Clean Water Act protections for “intermittent and ephemeral streams.” In 2018,  the Environmental Protection Agency proposed weakening these protections. These streams —the headwaters of our nation’s rivers —provide us the fisheries we cherish and the clean drinking water we require. 

Intermittent streams are those that have a continuous flow but only at certain times of the year, sustained seasonally by springs, ground-water inputs or a surface water source such as rain or melting snow.

Ephemeral streams flow only briefly (hours to days) in direct response to precipitation in the immediate vicinity. 


stream miles classified as intermittent or ephemeral

Seeing Red: Do fewer protections impact your water?

Short answer? Yes. Think of intermittent and ephemeral streams like the capillaries in your body. While they are small and often overlooked, they play a vital role in our overall health. So too do the small headwater streams which feed the larger creeks and rivers we more commonly recognize. Zoom in to learn more about intermittent and ephemeral streams where you live.

We all deserve clean water.

Protecting it has never been more critical:

There has been lots of misinformation on what the 2015 Clean Water Rule would and would not do. Scroll through the storymap compiled by TU’s science team to learn more about protections this rule puts in place for your water and why we should not settle for less.

What does this mean for your backyard?

Click on the maps below to learn more about headwater streams in your state. Looking for a state not listed? Contact us:

Clean, cold water
A cutthroat trout hides in clear, clean water
Two cold, clean trout streams come together
An angler fishes a headwater stream

Trout Unlimited conserves, protects and restores North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

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Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22209

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National Office: (703) 522-0200
Fax: (703) 284-9400

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