America's Rivers Under Seige

Our 10 most endangered waterways
Staff Writer

Flickr/krow10

The Potomac River running past Washington, D.C.

This week, the river conservancy organization American Rivers released their annual report, America’s Most Endangered Rivers, which calls out 10 of the nation’s most threatened waterways in the hopes of drawing attention to threats like natural gas fracking, pollution, dams and dredging.

This year, the Potomac topped the list. Why? Though its pollution levels are much lower than they have been in the past, this river flows dangerously close to lawmakers in D.C., who are currently working to rollback provisions of the Clean Water Act (which safeguards drinking water, pollution levels, fishing, boating, etc.), passed exactly 40 years ago.

“This year’s Most Endangered Rivers list underscores how important clean water is to our drinking water, health and economy,” said Bob Evans, American Rivers president. “If Congress slashes clean water protections, more Americans will get sick and communities and businesses will suffer. We simply cannot afford to go back to a time when the Potomac and rivers nationwide were too polluted to use.”

Below, a summary of the report.

1. Potomac River (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Washington D.C.) 
THREAT:  Pollution and Clean Water Act rollbacks
AT RISK:  Clean water and public health

2. Green River (Wyoming, Utah, Colorado)
THREAT:  Water withdrawals
AT RISK:  Recreation opportunities, fish and wildlife

3. Chattahoochee River (Georgia)
THREAT:  New dams and reservoirs
AT RISK:  Clean water and fish

4. Missouri River (10 states, from Missouri to Wyoming)
THREAT:  Outdated flood management
AT RISK:  Public safety

 Hoback River (Wyoming)
THREAT:  Fracking: natural gas development
AT RISK:  Clean water, fish and wildlife

6. Grand River (Ohio)
THREAT:  Fracking: natural gas development
AT RISK:  Clean water and public health

7. South Fork Skykomish River (Washington)
THREAT:  New dam
AT RISK:  Wilderness and recreation

8. Crystal River (Colorado)
THREAT:  Dams and water diversions
AT RISK:  Fish, wildlife and recreation

9. Coal River (West Virginia)
THREAT:  Mountaintop removal coal mining  
AT RISK: 
Clean water and public health

10. Kansas River (Kansas)
THREAT:  Sand and gravel dredging
AT RISK:  Public health and wildlife 

If this issue strikes home, visit AmericanRivers.org for a list of ways to get involved.

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