South Carolina Gains some Ground in Latest Drought Monitor
In the latest drought monitor, South Carolina’s dry conditions improved slightly. The area of the state experiencing no drought improved from just over 27% to 35 ½% in the latest report. The area of the state experiencing abnormally dry conditions improved from 72 2/3rds to about 65 ½ %, the area of the state reporting moderate drought conditions improved from just shy of 48% to less than 30% and the area of the state reporting severe drought conditions has been reduced to zero from almost 8%.
North Carolina Slips in Latest Drought Monitor
In the latest drought monitor North Carolina’s dry conditions declined for the second week in a row. The percentage of the state experiencing no drought went from 67% to 56%. The area of the state reporting abnormally dry conditions increased from just shy of 33% to more than 43%, the area of the state experiencing moderate dry conditions decreased slightly from 6.85% to 6.77%. North Carolina is still free of the most serious phases of drought. The entire Commonwealth of Virginia remains free of drought conditions.
New EPA Assessment Shows U.S. Rivers, Streams in Poor Condition
The national rivers and streams assessment conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that 55-percent of our nation's river and stream miles are in poor biological condition. Denise Keehner – Director of EPA's office of wetlands, oceans and watersheds – says what that means is that they don't support healthy populations of aquatic life…
“Healthy populations of aquatic life in a river or a stream are important to make waters fishable and livable. We also saw some interesting differences across the US geographically. We have nine ecological regions that we are able to look at and compare/contrast. We see that they vary by percentage of stream miles from the middle of the country to the east coast, were in poorer conditions from the middle of the country going west.”
The EPA study found 40-percent of the nation's rivers and streams had high levels of phosphorus and 27-percent had excessive levels of nitrogen. This nutrient pollution can cause significant increases in algae – which in turn harms water quality, food resources and habitats – and decreases the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive.