The United States has 41,009 km of navigable inland channels (rivers and canals), exclusive of the Great Lakes.
Water transport is largely used for freight. Fishing and pleasure boats are numerous, and passenger service connects many of the nation's islands and remote coastal areas, crosses lakes, rivers, and harbors, and provides alternative access to Alaska which bypasses Canada. Several major seaports in the United States include New York to the east, Houston and New Orleans on the gulf coast, Los Angeles to the west. The interior of the U.S. also has major shipping channels, via the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Mississippi River. The first water link between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, the Erie Canal, allowed the rapid expansion of agriculture and industry in the Midwest and made New York City the economic center of the country.
- Surf Your Watershed from the EPA. Locate your watershed, then find “citizen-based groups at work in this watershed,” a listing of organizations that are working to protect water quality. You may wish to contact one of these groups to find out about cleanups, monitoring activities, restoration projects and other activities.
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