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SFS Annual Meeting

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Streams and rivers throughout the United States continue to be degraded by unsustainable human activities (e.g. land use change). One potential consequence of this anthropogenic degradation that has received relatively little attention is a corresponding decline in human health. Polluted or physically degraded streams and rivers can present a host of risks to human health, yet the consequences of environmental degradation are rarely considered in research on human well-being, particularly at regional to national scales. The objective of this study is to compare an array of stream health indicators with spatially congruent human health indicators throughout the conterminous United States (CONUS). Stream health metrics were obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Stream-Catchment (StreamCat) dataset. StreamCat includes natural and anthropogenic watershed characteristics for 2.65 million stream and river segments within the CONUS. Human health metrics were obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (CDC WONDER) database. Simple correlations are now being analyzed to identify potential links between stream/river health and human health. In future research, statistical models will be used to explore potentially causal pathways between human health and the environment.

Daniel McGarvey (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Virginia Commonwealth University,;

Felisha Walls (Primary Presenter/Author), Virginia Commonwealth University,;