The Clean Water Act 20 Years Later
Robert W. Adler, Jessica C. Landman, and Diane M. Cameron Island Press, 1993 Library of Congress TD223.A4663 1993 | Dewey Decimal 363.739460973
This volume explores the issues associated with the complex subject of water quality protection in an assessment of the successes and failures of the Clean Water Act over the past twenty years. In addition to examining traditional indicators of water quality, the authors consider how health concerns of the public have been addressed, and present a detailed examination of the ecological health of our waters. Taken together, these measures present a far more complete and balanced picture than raw water quality data alone.
As well as reviewing past effectiveness, the book includes specific recommendations for the reauthorization of the Act, which is to be considered by Congress in 1995. This balanced and insightful account will surely shape the debate among legislative and policy experts and citizen activists at all levels who are concerned with issues of water quality.
Over the past century, humans have molded the Colorado River to serve their own needs, resulting in significant impacts to the river and its ecosystems. Today, many scientists, public officials, and citizens hope to restore some of the lost resources in portions of the river and its surrounding lands. Environmental restoration on the scale of the Colorado River basin is immensely challenging; in addition to an almost overwhelming array of technical difficulties, it is fraught with perplexing questions about the appropriate goals of restoration and the extent to which environmental restoration must be balanced against environmental changes designed to promote and sustain human economic development.
Restoring Colorado River Ecosystems explores the many questions and challenges surrounding the issue of large-scale restoration of the Colorado River basin, and of large-scale restoration in general. Robert W. Adler evaluates the relationships among the laws, policies, and institutions governing use and management of the Colorado River for human benefit and those designed to protect and restore the river and its environment. He examines and critiques the often challenging interactions among law, science, economics, and politics within which restoration efforts must operate. Ultimately, he suggests that a broad concept of “restoration” is needed to navigate those uncertain waters, and to strike an appropriate balance between human and environmental needs.
While the book is primarily about restoration of Colorado River ecosystems, it is also about uncertainty, conflict, competing values, and the nature, pace, and implications of environmental change. It is about our place in the natural environment, and whether there are limits to that presence we ought to respect. And it is about our responsibility to the ecosystems we live in and use.