Governor Dan McKee signed a gubernatorial proclamation proclaiming today, Oct. 20, as Clean Water Act Day statewide, and was joined by United States Senator Jack Reed, Rhode Island General Assembly leaders, and staff of the Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife stocking rainbow trout in the Pawtuxet River in Warwick.
The event highlighted the importance of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), which was enacted 50 years ago this week and jolted all 50 states into regulating pollution and cleaning water bodies, according to a press release from Governor McKee’s office..
The Clean Water Act of 1972, which is a foundational environmental protection law, was aimed at preventing, reducing, and eliminating pollution in our nation’s waterways and restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of US waterbodies. Before the CWA’s enactment, bays, rivers, and streams throughout the United States and Rhode Island were choked with pollution, toxic to fish and other wildlife, hazardous to human health, and not fit for recreation. Through the efforts by the CWA, once severely-polluted waterways within Rhode Island have turned into cleaner waters that today support healthy ecosystems, public recreation, and tourism.
DEM stocks thousands of trout into Rhode Island ponds and streams throughout the freshwater fishing season. As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, fishing plays an important role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, attracting tourism, and supporting a treasured tradition for families.