PSA Cosigns Statement to Push Back on US Government Replacement of WOTUS

Below is the official text of the Statement of the Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies (CASS) on the proposed replacement of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, cosigned by the PSA and eight other professional societies.

Cosignatories: American Fisheries Society • Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography • Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation • Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society • International Association for Great Lakes Management • North American Lake Management Society • Phycological Society of America • Society for Freshwater Science • Society of Wetland Scientists

Aquatic Scientists Push Back Against Attempts to Replace Wetlands Rule

The Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies (CASS) is deeply concerned with the proposed rule issued today by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replace the 2015 Clean Water Rule (Waters of the United States Rule or WOTUS). We urge the agencies to consider the far-reaching implications to our nation’s fish and aquatic resources, wildlife and communities from a narrower rule and call for any re-definition of ”Waters of the United States” to be informed by science.

More than a half century of scientific research has unequivocally demonstrated that the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of “traditionally navigable” waters fundamentally depend on ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial headwater streams, as well as the myriad associated lakes, wetlands, and off-channel habitats.

Research specifically shows that downstream waters rely on headwaters and their associated wetland habitats for:

• uptake, retention, transformation and transport of nutrients and contaminants;

• control of runoff, streamflow and floodwaters

• moderation of water temperature and sediment delivery;

• food, thermal refuges, spawning sites, nursery areas and essential habitat for unique plants and animals, including numerous threatened and endangered species as well as recreationally and commercially important species.

Dr. Arnold van der Valk, Immediate Past President, Society of Wetland Scientists and a professor at Iowa State University, decried the decision by the Trump administration to replace the current WOTUS rule and noted, “It will result in the loss of many of the nation’s wetlands. This decision is short-sighted and counterproductive. It will significantly reduce the multitude of ecosystem services that these wetlands currently provide us at no cost. As a result the taxpayers will have to pay to build elaborate and expensive infrastructure to replace these free ecosystem services, such as flood reduction and cleaning up polluted water.”

Dr. Robert Twilley, Past President of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation and a professor at Louisiana State University, said: “Estuaries and coastal waters rely on clean water from upland watersheds to support productive, commercially, and recreationally valuable fisheries of the United States. The definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ was a joint effort of industry, private landowners, and government that recognized the importance of headland and other wetlands in providing the water quality that supports downstream economies.”

Dr. Douglas Austen, Executive Director of the American Fisheries Society (AFS), noted that “the 2015 Clean Water Rule provided a scientifically sound definition of ‘Waters of the U.S.’ The move to replace the rule puts America’s headwater streams and wetlands at greater risk of being destroyed or polluted and imperils fish and aquatic resources.”

CASS is composed of nine professional societies representing almost 20,000 individuals with diverse knowledge of the aquatic sciences. Those members work in the private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations, and various tribal, state, and federal agencies. CASS represents professional scientists and managers with deep subject matter expertise, a commitment to independent objectivity, and the critical review of environmental information. We support the development and use of the best available science to sustainably manage our freshwater, estuarine, coastal, and ocean resources to the benefit of the U.S. economy, environment, and public health and safety.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Drue Banta Winters

PH 301/897-8616 x202

Hilda Canter-Lund competition 2017

A reminder to everyone that there are just over two weeks left to submit your entry for this year’s Hilda Canter-Lund competition for algal photography.   On past experience, serendipity is as valuable as technical brilliance in determining what gets onto the short list, so don’t be shy about sending in a spectacular image of seaweed* taken on your smartphone.    So start hunting through your folders to for your best photograph taken in the past year or so and send it to

Further details, along with the rules, can be found here:

PSA: partner in the March for Science!

PSA is now a partner organization in the March for Science!  Please consider taking part or supporting this non-partisan effort to champion robustly funded and publicly communicated science that upholds the common good.  Mark your calendars for April 22nd, and consider attending either the main march in Washington, DC, or one of the satellite marches held in cities around the world.  If you do plan on attending, the march organizers ask that you  please register at to help them with planning.

March organizers have also provided the following information that may be valuable:

Our FAQ on the Washington D.C. March now covers everything from ideas on signs to our accessibility plan. A map will be released in the next few days.  For federal employees attending the March for Science, we’ve outlined some tips for expressing your support for science in this tumultuous political climate. These tips may not apply in the cases of state or local governments, so please consult relevant local authorities or your employer.

If you haven’t booked a bus to D.C. yet, time is running out to secure a seat. Head to Skedaddle to book a trip to the march.

Stay tuned for a collection of downloadable posters celebrating science – and this historic movement. We’re launching this series on Tuesday, with new posters added on our website every day until the march.

Our online store now has more options than ever, including amazing poster designs donated by Andrea Beaty, author of Iggy Peck Architect, Rosie Revere Engineer, and Ada Twist Scientist. These posters memorialize this moment and inspire kids to carry on the scientific spirit of reading, questioning, and thinking.

To help keep the march's momentum going, please chip in today.