EPA's Environment Report Targets Trends

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its "2008 Report on the Environment Highlights," a resource citizens can use to easily understand broad trends in the condition of the air, water, and land, and related changes in human health and the environment in the United States, according to a Sept. 24 press release.

In the Pacific Southwest, statewide measures have, in many cases, shown improvement, but these changes are not uniform across the region. Much work remains to be done to ensure that vulnerable communities in the outer Pacific Islands, U.S./Mexico Border Region, tribal communities, and environmental justice areas make progress in improving public health and environmental conditions.

EPA continues to work with states, tribes, and local partners in the Pacific Southwest to address environmental issues at the community level. An example of this effort is the collapse of open-water fish species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta coupled with critically dry conditions in California affecting water supplies throughout the state. This focus on the biology of at-risk fish populations has generated high-quality, useful science that synthesizes the impacts of diverse stressors of ecosystems and suggests more effective ways to use permits to protect ecological values.

A recent report by the Earth Engineering Center at Columbia University shows the majority of states in EPA Region 9 recycle nearly 37 percent of their municipal solid wastes -- surpassing the 35 percent goal set by the EPA's national Resource Conservation Challenge. To continue to improve recycling in the Pacific Southwest, EPA remains committed to coordinating with local governments and other partners to identify waste management trends and target materials management priorities.

Written for a general audience, the EPA's "2008 Report on the Environment: Highlights of National Trends," summarizes some of the more important findings from a more comprehensive companion report, the EPA's "2008 Report on the Environment: Science Report."

Quantifiable environmental indicators were used to develop the report, providing valuable information on the condition of air, land, water, human health, and ecological systems.

"Highlights of National Trends" is organized around 25 topics that are important to EPA and to the public. Each topic page includes a brief summary of what we know-- and don't know--about trends in the nation's air, water, land, ecological status, and human health.

The highlights document features a subset of indicators from the more comprehensive science report and were selected based on their importance to the public and scientists, as well as their ability to answer a series of key questions about the environment. EPA's "2008 Report on the Environment" could also lead to the development of new indicators, new monitoring strategies, and new programs and policies in areas EPA determines to be important based on measured environmental trends.

A Web-based tool, the electronic "Report on the Environment," make its easy for individuals to navigate and search both documents.

To view the report, visit http://www.epa.gov/roe.

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