WASHINGTON, DC, April 9, 2014 -- Today, American Rivers announced its annual list of America's Most Endangered Rivers®, marking the second year in a row the report underscores problems that arise for communities and the environment when excessive amounts of water is drained out of rivers.
The annual America's Most Endangered Rivers 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 Over the years, the report has helped spur many successes including the removal of outdated dams, the protection of rivers with wild and scenic designations, and the prevention of harmful development and pollution.
Last year, the Colorado River topped the list as a result of outdated water management. The Colorado River Basin is also mentioned this year, with water diversion threats placing the Gila River and the rivers of the Upper Colorado Basin on the Most Endangered list. Likewise, the report names 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 Outdated water management and excessive diversions, compounded by the current drought, have put the river at a breaking point.
American Rivers is calling on the California State Water Resources Control Board to increase flows in the river to protect water quality, fish, and recreation, and support sustainable agriculture. American Rivers is also urging Congress to preserve agreements and laws designed to protect the San Joaquin River and the jobs and communities it supports.
Four million people live in the San Joaquin watershed. The river and its tributaries support some of the most productive and profitable agriculture in the world, irrigating more than two million acres of arid land. However, the river is so heavily exploited that it runs dry in certain stretches. The current drought is placing additional stress on the river and revealing the inadequacies of status quo water management for both people and the environment.
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America's Most Endangered Rivers® of 2014:
#1 San Joaquin River (CA)
Threat: Outdated water management and excessive diversions
At Risk: River health and resilient communities
#2 Upper Colorado River System (CO)
Threat: New trans-mountain water diversions
At Risk: River health and recreation
#3 Middle Mississippi River (MO, IL, KY)
Threat: Outdated flood management
At Risk: Wildlife habitat and public safety
#4 Gila River (NM)
Threat: New water diversions
At Risk: River health, fish & wildlife, recreation, and tourism
#5 San Francisquito Creek (CA)
At Risk: Fish and wildlife habitat and public safety
#6 South Fork Edisto River (SC)
Threat: Excessive water withdrawals
At Risk: Fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, and water quality
#7 White River (CO)
Threat: Oil and gas drilling
At Risk: Drinking water supplies and fish and wildlife habitat
#8 White River (WA)
Threat: Outdated dam and fish passage facilities
At Risk: Salmon, steelhead, and bull trout populations
#9 Haw River (NC)
Threat: Polluted runoff
At Risk: Clean water
#10 Clearwater/Lochsa Rivers (Idaho)
Threat: Industrialization of a Wild and Scenic River corridor
At Risk: Scenery, solitude, world-class recreational values