2014 ten most endangered rivers
American Rivers yesterday announced its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®, naming California's San Joaquin River the Most Endangered River in the country. Outdated water management and excessive diversions, compounded by the current drought, have put the San Joaquin River at a breaking point.
American Rivers is calling on the California State Water Resources Control Board to increase river flows to protect water quality, fish, and recreation, and support sustainable agriculture as well as urge Congress to preserve agreements and laws designed to protect the San Joaquin River and communities it supports.
"On the San Joaquin and across the nation, communities can increase their ability to deal with drought now and in the future by protecting and restoring rivers and using water more efficiently," said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers. "By prioritizing healthy rivers and sustainable water management, we can enjoy reliable clean water supplies, healthy fish and wildlife, recreation, and quality of life for generations to come."
For the second consecutive year, the report underscores the problems that arise for communities and the environment when we drain too much water out of rivers. Last year the Colorado River was #1 on the list because of outdated water management. This basin remains in the spotlight this year, with water diversion threats placing the Gila River and the rivers of the Upper Colorado Basin on the Most Endangered list.
The annual report is a list of rivers at a crossroads, where key decisions in the coming months will determine the rivers' fates. Over the years, the report has helped spur many successes including the removal of outdated dams, protection of rivers with Wild and Scenic designations, and prevention of harmful development and pollution.
This year's list includes:
#1 San Joaquin River
Threat: Outdated water management and excessive diversions impacting river health
#2 Upper Colorado River System
Threat: New trans-mountain water diversions impacting river health and recreation
#3 Middle Mississippi River
Threat: Outdated flood management impacting wildlife habitat and public safety
#4 Gila River
Threat: New water diversions impacting overall river health
#5 San Francisquito Creek
Threat: Dam impacting aquatic habitat and public safety
#6 South Fork Edisto River
Threat: Excessive water withdrawals impacting aquatic habitat, recreation, and water quality
#7 White River (CO)
Threat: Oil and gas drilling impacting drinking water supplies and aquatic habitat
#8 White River (WA)
Threat: Outdated dam and fish passage facilities impacting salmon, steelhead, and bull trout populations
#9 Haw River
Threat: Polluted runoff impacting clean water
#10 Clearwater/Lochsa Rivers
Threat: Industrialization of a Wild and Scenic River corridor impacting scenery, solitude, world-class recreational values
Read more at American Rivers.
San Joaquin River Near Rainbow Falls in Devil's Postpile National Monument, California image via Shutterstock.