Environmental Protection

America’s Most Endangered Rivers Announced

American Rivers’ annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers has been released today, naming the Colorado River as the most endangered river in the country.

Topping the list of America’s most endangered rivers is the Colorado River. American Rivers says that the river is suffering from outdated water management, which makes it unable to accurately respond to the pressures of over-allocation drought. In order to help protect the Colorado River and the other endangered rivers and their surrounding wildlife and communities, American Rivers urges Congress to fund programs to help.

The Colorado River provides drinking water to 36 million people, irrigates four million acres of land to help grow 15 percent of crops in the U.S. With the river facing another possible drought this summer, low water levels put fish, wildlife, and the recreation economy at risk.

Listed as #2, 3, and 4 on the endangered rivers list for outdated water management are: the Flint River in Georgia, the San Saba River in Texas, and the Little Plover River in Wisconsin.

The remaining rivers on the list are: the Catawba River in North Carolina and South Carolina, which is threatened by coal ash pollution; the Boundary Waters in Minnesota for copper and nickel mining; the Black Warrior River in Alabama for coal mining; the Rough & Ready and Baldface Creeks in Oregon for nickel mining; the Kootenai River in British Columbia, Montana, and Idaho for open-pit coal mining; and the Niobrara River in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming for sediment build-up and flooding.

The Merced River in California received an honorable mention by American Rivers because of the river’s intentional flooding of a wild and scenic river risk, which endangers wildlife habitat and recreation.

The America’s Most Endangered Rivers annual report that has helped draw attention to rivers needing help, and has resulted in the many successes which include harmful development and pollution prevention, protecting rivers with the Wild and Scenic designations, and removing outdated dams.

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