Gulf and South Atlantic Waterkeepers Respond to Federal Clean Water Act Rollbacks - Waterkeeper

Gulf and South Atlantic Waterkeepers Respond to Federal Clean Water Act Rollbacks

By: Julia Widmann

Waters of the United States under the Trump admiistration.

Across the Gulf and South Atlantic regions of the US, Waterkeepers responded to the EPA rollbacks of Clean Water Act protections with creative, informative, inspiring content. 

In case you missed it: on September 12, after many months of warning they’d do so, our current administration rolled back protections for millions of acres of wetlands and waterways. The rollback redefines “waters of the U.S.,” otherwise known as “WOTUS,” and severely undercuts the number of waterways that receive legal protection under the Clean Water Act.

Waterkeepers across the country spoke up and continue to speak up in defense of a broad definition of “WOTUS” — which have acted as the main legal protection for clean water against polluters for close to 50 years — in creative and new ways. 

Here are just a few of the ways our Gulf and South Atlantic Waterkeepers are responding to these Clean Water Act rollbacks:

In Alabama, Coosa Riverkeeper shared an extremely powerful short film that spotlights farmers, fishermen, and clean water advocates across Alabama and their reactions to the WOTUS changes.

The film features their Staff Riverkeeper Steven Dudley and board member Josh Tidwell. It was created by their partners at Alabama Rivers Alliance and filmmakers at Southern Exposure Film Fellowship.

In Arkansas, White River Waterkeeper Jessie Green addressed the administration’s Clean Water rollbacks with a Facebook post which asks and answers the important question: “what does this actually mean in terms of what waters will no longer be protected?”

She answered this by sharing a graphic (created by RES) which shows how the definition of WOTUS and the administration’s changes affect rivers, lakes, streams, groundwater, wetlands, and more. Several Waterkeepers and several more concerned citizens across the country have shared her post since.


In Florida, Lake Worth Waterkeeper Reinaldo Diaz has long understood the importance of an inclusive WOTUS definition to Florida’s unique waterways of canals and wetlands. In March, he drove from Florida to Kansas City, Missouri for the only public hearing organized by the federal government on their proposed WOTUS changes.

Reinaldo spoke at the hearing in front of EPA officials about the detrimental impacts to the Lake Worth Lagoon:

“Losing this protection would strip our wetlands of vital protection, allow polluters to go unpunished, and ultimately subject our community to massive health risk and economic loss.”

Read his full statement here.

Waterkeeper Alliance is fighting these rollbacks to clean water protections, too, and you can help:

Tell EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to stand up for a strong definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. We must ensure we all have pure water to fish in, pure water for our children to play in, and pure water to drink. Contact Administrator Wheeler today!

Feature image by RES.