More than 40,000 miles of California’s rivers and streams are currently threatened by pollution, according to a list of impaired waterways submitted by the state to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Common impairments in lakes are due to mercury and other toxic metals in fish. High temperatures, sediment and toxic metals are found in many rivers and streams.
Of its more than 200,000 river miles, over 40,000 are not meeting at least one water quality goal, and still need clean-up plans, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads or TMDLs.
Of the 1.6 million acres of lakes and reservoirs, over 80,000 acres are not meeting water quality goals, and still need TMDLs.
The federal Clean Water Act requires states to monitor and assess their rivers, lakes and coastal waters and submit a list of impaired waterways in need of cleanup plans to EPA for review.
Work is underway to clean up and restore the approximately 1000 water bodies across California previously listed as impaired. California has developed cleanup plans for over 50,000 river miles and over 160,000 lake acres.
The state will submit future list updates in 2016 and 2018 for water bodies in the other six Regional Water Boards.