America’s 10 Most Endangered Rivers and Why They Are Threatened
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“President Trump has abandoned critical river protections including the Clean Water Rule, leaving small streams and wetlands—sources of drinking water for one in three Americans—vulnerable to harmful development and pollution,” the organization stated.
According to the list, the Lower Colorado River—which runs through Arizona, Nevada and California—is the country’s most endangered river.
Matt Rice, Colorado Basin director for American Rivers, told USA Today that “the Lower Colorado is the lifeblood of the region and grows food for Americans nationwide, but the river is at a breaking point.”
The river provides drinking water for 30 million Americans, including those who live in major cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix, and helps grow 90 percent of the nation’s winter vegetables.
Its main threats are water demand outstripping supply and climate change.
“Water is one of the most crucial conservation issues of our time,” said Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, in a statement. “The rivers Americans depend on for drinking water, jobs, food and quality of life are under attack from the Trump administration’s rollbacks and proposed budget cuts.”
“Americans must speak up and let their elected officials know that healthy rivers are essential to our families, our communities and our future,” he continued. “We must take care of the rivers that take care of us.”
The annual list was first created in 1984. The rivers are selected based upon the following criteria: A major decision (that the public can help influence) in the coming year on the proposed action; The significance of the river to human and natural communities; The magnitude of the threat to the river and associated communities, especially in light of a changing climate.
Here are America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2017 (via National Geographic):
1. Lower Colorado River, Arizona, California, Nevada
Threat: Water demand and climate change.
2. Bear River, California
Threat: new dam
3. South Fork Skykomish, Washington
Threat: new hydropower project
4. Mobile Bay Rivers, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi
Threat: poor water management
5. Rappahannock River, Virginia
6. Green-Toutle River, Washington
Threat: new mine
7. Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers, North Carolina
Threat: pollution from hog and chicken farms
8. Middle Fork Flathead River, Montana
Threat: oil transport by rail
9. Buffalo National River, Arkansas
Threat: pollution from massive hog farm
10: Menominee River, Michigan, Wisconsin
Threat: open pit sulfide mining