Ranking America’s 10 Most Endangered Rivers of 2017

Washington, D.C. — Each year, American Rivers identifies 10 rivers facing urgent threats and critical decisions. Those threats range from water scarcity, to hydroelectric development and pollution. As paddlers, these environmental dangers to rivers can often affect not only our recreation, but also our communities.

This year, American Rivers stresses that the list highlights the dangers Trump Administration budget cuts pose to rivers and communities nationwide. Number one on this year’s list is the Lower Colorado River, where the communities, economy, and natural resources of the southwestern U.S. will be threatened if the Trump Administration and Congress don’t prioritize and fund innovative water management solutions.

Lower Colorado River map by artist Sarah Uhl.

“This is a critical year for rivers and clean water,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers. “Water is one of the most crucial conservation issues of our time. 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. We must take care of the rivers that take care of us.” Irvin said.

Atop the list, the Lower Colorado is America’s most endangered river, the organization reports. Water scarcity and ever increasing demand upon the river’s resources from eight western states and Mexico is of particular importance to the region’s Latino communities. One-third of the nation’s Latinos live in the Colorado River Basin. The significance of the river to the faith, livelihood and future of Latino farm-working families is showcased in the new film Milk and Honey, produced by American Rivers and the Hispanic Access Foundation.

#1: Lower Colorado River (Arizona, California, Nevada) Threat: Water scarcity and demand.

#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) Threat: Fracking

#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

Read in-depth stories and reporting about these rivers and other conservation battles on C&K:

—Riding a flash flood to the heart of the Little Colorado

—A Tale of Two Rivers: Source to Sea on the Green and Colorado

—America’s Most Endangered River of 2015

—Packrafting the Flathead through the Bob Marshal Wilderness

—Op-Ed: It’s time to remove the Snake River dams

—Video: Paddling the flooded Skykomish River

The article was originally published on Canoe & Kayak

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