Report Calls Santa Fe River 'Most Endangered in U.S.'

Spring runoff in the Santa Fe River this year is giving New Mexico residents a taste of what it used to be like to have a living river in the heart of their city, and what it could be like again, conservation group American Rivers stated.

On April 17, conservation group American Rivers released its annual ranking of most endangered rivers in the United States, with the Santa Fe topping the list. Much of the year, the Santa Fe suffers from the biggest threat any river could face: a complete lack of water. While Santa Fe Mayor David Coss has promoted a visionary plan to restore water to the river, the city still has not taken important steps to make that vision a reality. Until that happens, the Santa Fe River spends most of the year as a dry, weed-choked ditch, American Rivers officials stated.

"Endangered rivers this year face a dizzying array of threats from sewage pollution, proposals for unnecessary dams, power lines to highways but all have one thing in common. These are rivers at a crossroads," said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. "This is a make or break year for all 10 rivers on the list."

Making second place on the list is the San Mateo Creek (California), which is threatened by plans to build the new Foothill Transportation Corridor South right over the creek. According to American Rivers, the road will wreck a long section of the creek and cut off access to more than half of a state park.

The other rivers on the list are (in order):

  • Iowa River (Iowa)
  • Upper Delaware River (New York)
  • White Salmon River (Washington)
  • Neches River (Texas)
  • Kinnickinnic River (Wisconsin)
  • Neuse River (North Carolina)
  • Lee Creek (Arkansas and Oklahoma)
  • Chuitna River (Alaska)

For more information, contact American Rivers at

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