There are many things that one can say on these yearly reports and i find much of my attitude toward them as "they still do not really understand at all".
While they do provide open discussion about the quality of swimming water in America and do raise awareness of what we have done to our planet (not that it would matter much if we were suddenly gone, the planet would heal itself), but they have missed balance.
Balance? What does that have to do with anything?
If you believe the ideas and myths presented of the "American Indian" and how they lived in harmony with nature (not totally in reality, but better than we), there is to be harmony and balance between man and nature.
The NRDC and the US EPA are "clean water" agencies and that means they would be very happy if all the water in the world was without any materials of any kind other than water.
That, to me, would mean sterile water with no life
The reality is that water carries with it normal things from the land to water that provides life for the tiniest organisms which allow other organisms to feed and the cycle goes upward.
Man partakes of this food chain at thew higher levels and so must put back a proportional amount to balance the equation.
Of course we have not done this.
We have put things in there to kill things we do not like (pesticides and other poisons). We have put things from the manufacture of items to kill our selves (lead and mercury). We even have put all of our waste, with out any sorting of good from bad, in the same waters.
So the organisms the US EPA is worried about and uses to monitor water quality are organisms that are common to humans, enterococcus and fecal coliform, but they have many, many natural sources as well and are part of the cycle of life.
They also are linked to human illness.
So when a town like Stamford, closes its beaches after a heavy rain, it is not because of man-made pollution, it is because the normal cycle of washing the earth has brought these organisms into the water for a time. It will eventually increase aquatics life and bathers are inconvenienced for a day.
This of course is not what the US EPA nor the NRDC wants, they want no beach closures ever and i think it is rather selfish of us to think this way.