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Standing Policy Statements

Standing Statements

Policy Statements are written to proclaim the essential core values of the society to all members, the public, and government agencies. Policy Statements are clear, concise statements, each representing a specific science-based concept supported by the society. In some cases, a policy guidance report or document is available elaborating specific Policy Statements. Once approved by the Board of Directors, these Policy Statements can be cited by the President of SFS, or designated officer, in correspondence to any group or individual to indicate the position of the society on various environmental issues without restriction.

The Science and Policy Committee recommends the following Policy Statements:

Note: The order of the statements is not indicative of importance

  • Evolution is the basic process for speciation and natural selection is the basic mechanism for evolution.
  • Species are the fundamental units of the biological world.
  • The recognition of species through taxonomic, systematic and ecological studies is essential for biological, ecological and bioassessment understanding.
  • Since aquatic species integrate all aspects of the environment, measures of species composition provide a better means for assessing water quality conditions than measures of physico-chemical variables in all aquatic ecosystems, i.e. lotic waters, lentic waters, wetlands.
  • A permanent, national bioassessment program that assesses water quality conditions and communicates this information to the public and policymakers is essential to safeguard ecosystem integrity and public health.
  • Environmental health and ecosystem integrity are critical for maintaining human health and the long-term economic sustainability of human society.
  • Aquatic ecosystems continuously exchange nutrients, water, energy, and biota with the adjacent terrestrial lands and thus are ecologically dependent upon these riparian terrestrial ecosystems, especially flowing water ecosystems.
  • Human activities on land (e.g. farming, urban development) and in fresh waters (e.g. dams, drainage structures) are altering the hydrological and water quality conditions of natural habitats and thus causing the loss of species at a rate unprecedented in Earth’s history.
  • The loss of any species (extinction or extirpation) reduces the natural redundancy that safeguards the integrity of ecosystems and thus imperials the ability of ecosystems to adapt to future environmental changes.
  • The intentional or accidental transport of species outside of their natural range threatens the species and ecological conditions of those invaded ecosystems (i.e. biological pollution).
  • There is a limit to the size of the human population and total economic activity that the Earth can continuously sustain; beyond this limit, critical ecosystem services will degrade, such as the provision of clean water, breathable air, and fish and other food products.
  • SFS supports changes in human economic and population growth that focus on sustainable resource use and the maintenance of ecosystem services critical to both natural systems and human civilization. View SFS Statement on Economic and Population Growth. Passed 2010.
  • Dual Nutrient Control: Managing both nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in freshwaters is essential to prevent potentially detrimental effects of eutrophication including excess algal growth, harmful algal blooms, shifts in decomposition and nutrient cycling, acute and chronic minimum dissolved oxygen concentrations, altered aquatic community composition, and reduced aesthetics and recreation. View full policy on dual nutrient control here.

  • Environmental Flows: Environmental flow regime approaches seek to provide the full breadth of instream flow needs including the magnitude, duration, frequency, timing, and rate of change of discharge required to sustain the biological integrity of aquatic ecosystems and the services they provide to people and should be protected to the maximum extent practicable. View full policy on eFlows here.