By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Environmentalists and activists joined forces today to endorse a federal clean water proposal.

They gathered in an upstairs room at a café along Boathouse Row to tout the importance of new rules clarifying the reach and control of the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers over major waterways and the streams and creeks that flow into them.

John Pomponio, director of the EPA’s environmental assessment and innovation division (seated at left in photo), saluted Clean Water Action, an environmental group, for mobilizing interest, and councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, for a City Council resolution endorsing the changes.

Pomponio notes that the quality of water here in the Philadelphia region is dependent on waterways miles away.

“The waters that are the network of waters upstream act like capillaries in your body. They’re really small systems. But the aggregate of the quality of those waters affects the quality of the waters here in the Delaware River. So, you need good water upstream to have good water downstream.”

A public comment period closes in October.