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North Carolina has 37,800 miles of rivers and streams. Many of these waterways are in rapid decline due to runoff, runaway development and overtaxed monitoring and enforcement systems.

With legislators entering this summer's short session looking at ways to ratchet up the economy, and industry lobbyists eager to provide (along with the occasional campaign contribution) arguments about the burden of environmental rules, the cards, as they have been for years, are stacked against clean water efforts.

To counter that the N.C. Conservation Network and other environmental advocacy groups are sponsoring a Clean Water Lobby Day from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 19 to give citizens a chance to make their voices heard in the halls of the General Assembly.

Bending the ear of your local legislator about water quality may not sound like a particularly fun way to spend a morning or afternoon in Raleigh, but you'll be able to look your kids and grandkids in the eye and at least say you tried. Better yet, take "em along. There's a great museum across the street. www.ncconnet.org for information and how to sign up.

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