Small streams are seen everywhere across the US, but their role in keeping our nation’s waterways healthy can be easily forgotten. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 117 million people get some of their drinking water from sources that rely on streams. Many people directly rely on streams to provide for their drinking water, but they also play many hidden roles in keeping ecosystems intact and supporting our economy.
Streams provide habitats that a key to plant and animal wildlife across the nation. These habitats formed by streams help species flourish due to having spawning areas, food to eat, and shelter all in a small area. Without streams, these animals would be hard pressed to find other areas to survive in.
Protecting streams is in the best interest in safeguarding the future of fishing, hunting, agriculture and recreational usage. According to the EPA, the commercial salmon fishery was worth $555 million, and $1.8 billion dollars were spent on hunting migratory birds. Manufacturing and recreational usage also rely partly on streams, requiring fresh water to run plants and businesses and to irrigate crops for farms.
It is in the best interest of the nation to preserve our streams. Although perceived as small, these streams provide an abundance of fresh water that is key to maintaining ecosystems and economies across the nation. Maintaining these streams and protecting them from pollution can serve millions of people in countless ways.