United States: The emergence of environmental considerations

Sandra Zellmer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This chapter traces the emergence of environmental considerations in U.S. water law, beginning with colonial America and proceeding through the Gilded Age of industrialization, the Progressive Era of wise use, the New Deal and the rise of the federal administrative state, and the modern environmental era. Early on, environmental challenges were addressed haphazardly. The federal government influenced water policy through navigational enhancements, reclamation works, and flood control, while state and local law governed water rights and public health issues. The 1970s brought uniform federal effluent limitations and protections for endangered species. The dawn of the twenty-first century increasingly sees collaborative restoration initiatives that draw on the strengths of federal, state, tribal, and local governments and citizens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Evolution of the Law and Politics of Water
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781402098666
StatePublished - 2009


  • Dams
  • endangered species
  • federalism
  • flood control
  • pollution
  • public trust
  • water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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