Erwinia carotovora was frequently isolated from samples of surface water collected from 66 rivers, springs, creeks, streams, lakes, reservoirs and ponds in 16 states in the US but was not found in the single fresh water sample collected in Canada. The organism was also isolated from water collected from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. In Colorado and Wyoming, E. carotovora was isolated from water samples nearly every month of the year when monthly samples were collected from several streams. Erwinia carotovora subsp. carotovora represented 98–8% of the strains recovered from the water samples; E. carotovora subsp. atroseptica made up the remainder of the strains; E. chrysanthemi was not found.