The report summarizes current scientific understanding about the connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters. EPA has conducted a thorough review of the literature – more than 1,200 peer-reviewed and published documents – on the scientific evidence regarding the effects that streams, nontidal wetlands, and open -waters have on larger downstream waters such as rivers, lakes, estuaries, and oceans.
The focus of the report is on surface and shallow subsurface connections by which small or temporary streams, nontidal wetlands, and open waters affect larger waters such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries. EPA, along with other federal agencies and states, can use this scientific report to inform policy and regulatory decisions, including the Clean Water Rule being developed by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
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