Click here to go to the American Rivers website to view the list:
1. San Joaquin River
Outdated water management and excessive diversions leave the river dry in stretches, threatening water quality, fish and wildlife, agriculture, and leaving communities vulnerable in the face of drought.
2. Upper Colorado River
The river’s health, fish and wildlife, agriculture, and recreation are threatened by new proposed diversions and increasing water demands.
3. Middle Mississippi River
A proposed new levee would cut off the river from the floodplains that protects downstream communities from floodwaters and provide habitat for fish and wildlife.
4. Gila River
An unnecessary water diversion and pipeline would harm fish and wildlife, river health, and local economics dependent on outdoor recreation and tourism.
5. San Francisquito Creek
The 65-foot Searsville Dam blocks threatened steelhead from reaching habitat upstream, impairs water quality, and poses flooding risks for local communities.
6. South Fork Edisto River
Excessive agriculture withdrawals threaten the river’s health and downstream water users, including other farmers.
7. White River (Colorado)
15,000 proposed new oil and gas wells in the region threaten to ruin clean drinking water and fish and wildlife habitat.
8. White River (Washington)
Salmon, steelhead, and bull trout populations are often killed at the unsafe and outdated Buckley Dam.
9. Haw River
Drinking water and recreation areas for more than one million people are threated by polluted runoff and wastewater.
10. Clearwater/Lochsa Rivers
The Wild and Scenic rivers’ cold-water fisheries, scenery, and whitewater are threatened by industrialization that would bring huge mega-loads bound for Canadian tar sands onto narrow roads beside the rivers.
From USA Today (Doyle Rice):
The San Joaquin River in central California — one of the sources of San Francisco’s drinking water and an agricultural resource for the fertile San Joaquin Valley — is the nation’s “most endangered river,” according to a report from American Rivers…
Other rivers on this year’s list include the Upper Colorado River system in Colorado; a stretch of the Mississippi River in Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky; the Gila River in New Mexico and the San Francisquito Creek in California.
Rounding out the Top 10 are the South Fork Edisto River in South Carolina; the White River in Colorado; the White River in Washington; the Haw River in North Carolina; and the Clearwater/Lochsa Rivers in Idaho.
The list is not a series of the “worst” or most polluted rivers.
Three factors govern the rivers’ selections, according to Irvin: “One is the significance of the river for human and natural communities,” he says. “The second is the magnitude of the threat for a particular river, while the third is a major decision that the public can help influence in the coming year.”
From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Leia Larsen):
The Upper Colorado’s primary threat is new transmountain diversions as the state’s metro population continues to grow.
“Having tapped the headwaters of the Colorado mainstem, some Front Range water interests are currently considering diversions from rivers farther away, like the Yampa and Gunnison rivers — rivers not yet impaired by transmountain diversions,” the American Rivers report said…
“The ‘America’s Most Endangered Rivers’ report is a call to action to save rivers that are at a critical tipping point,” said Ken Neubeck of American Rivers in a press release. “We cannot afford more outdated, expensive and harmful water development schemes that drain and divert rivers and streams across the Upper Colorado Basin.”
From Aspen Public Radio (Marci Krinoven):
A new list names the Upper Colorado River basin the second most endangered stretch of water in the country. The conservation group American Rivers released its annual “top-10” list Wednesday and local rivers like the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan are part of basin that’s threatened…
Neubecker says Front Range communities are desperately looking for new water supplies and that could come from the upper Colorado and its tributaries. He says the listing raises public awareness.
“There are an awful lot of people, especially on the Front Range, who have no idea where their water comes from. It’s getting better than it used to be. But, there are still a lot of people who don’t understand that every time they run their faucet, they’re draining the Colorado River system.”
One other river in the state made the list: the White River in northwestern Colorado. According to the list, it’s main threat is oil and gas drilling.