Virginia Trout Streams Come Back To Life

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Nov. 8 (UPI) — Trout streams in Virginia are showing encouraging signs of recovery from decades of acid rain, a long-term study by researchers found.

“This is good news and real evidence for the value of our national investment in improving air quality,” said Rick Webb, a University of Virginia environmental scientist and coordinator of the Virginia Trout Stream Sensitivity Study. “At the same time, there is more to be done, and many Virginia brook trout streams may never fully recover.”

Researchers have been surveying the condition of Virginia’s remote mountain streams since initiating the project survey in 1987, with follow-up surveys in 2000 and 2010, a university release said Tuesday.

The study found that 77 percent of the sampled streams in 2010 were suitable for brook trout reproduction, up from 55 percent and 56 percent in 1987 and 2000, respectively.

Webb attributes the improvement to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 that imposed strict regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants that saw a 64 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide emission from 1990 to 2009.

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