America's Most Endangered Waterways

In time for Earth Day, American Rivers has released its annual list of the country's most threatened rivers. Topping this year's list is the Colorado River, a waterway so dammed, diverted and over-tapped that it ultimately "dries to a trickle."
April 22, 2013, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Each year American Rivers selects 10 rivers as our most endangered from a broad array of nominations from groups and individuals across the country," writes Jeff Wiedner. This year's list, which includes the Flint River in Georgia, Little Plover River in Wisconsin, and the San Saba River in Texas, were selected because they met three criteria: "1) A major decision in the coming year that the public can help influence; 2) The significance of the river to people and wildlife; 3) The magnitude of the threat to the river and its communities, especially in light of a changing climate".

Topping the list is the Colorado River, "the lifeblood of the American Southwest, providing drinking water for over 36 million people across seven states, irrigating 15 percent of our nation’s agriculture output, and supporting a $26 billion recreation economy."

"As Americans, we are lucky to have this river in our proverbial backyard," says Wiedner. "It is one of the most recognized and visited rivers in the United States, with millions of people flocking to its banks each year. But a century of water management policies and practices promoting wasteful water use have put the river at a critical crossroads."

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Published on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Take Part
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