Earth Saving News > May 24, 2011

What the frack? American rivers in danger.

It’s been a rough few weeks for some of America’s most iconic rivers.

Diverted waters from the flooded Mississippi are expected to reach peak levels in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin this week, as residents continue to brace for the slow-moving surge. While levees were successfully deployed to manage the historic flooding, it’s believed that the extent of damage could have been reduced had improved protection strategies been in place.

Natural flood protection methods like restoring wetlands and floodplains help to rebuild a river’s natural defenses and add an important level of protection against rising waters in situations like these. Find out more about the benefits and economic value of natural flood protections and watch EarthShare member charity American Rivers discuss the need to move beyond the levees.

The Mississippi isn’t the only river facing devastating environmental damage. This month, American Rivers released its annual list of the most endangered rivers in the U.S. Here are the top ten -- is your local river on the list?

  • Susquehanna River (New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland)
  • Bristol Bay (Alaska)
  • Roanoke River (Virginia, North Carolina)
  • Chicago River (Illinois)
  • Yuba River (California)
  • Green River (Washington)
  • Hoback River (Wyoming)
  • Black Warrior River (Alabama)
  • St. Croix River (Minnesota, Wisconsin)
  • Ozark National Scenic Waterways (Missouri)


The Susquehanna, at the top of the list, is one of the longest rivers in the United States and one of the primary sources for freshwater and drinking water in the Chesapeake region. Sadly, the new report finds that this cherished river faces a severe risk of contamination, due primarily to natural gas development and the effects of hydraulic fracturing we’ve all been hearing so much about, known as “fracking.”

Portions of the Susquehanna flow above a coveted natural gas reserve in the Marcellus Shale region. As is the case at many other gas reserves throughout the country, it’s reported that gas companies have been quick to use the fracking method without a full evaluation of environmental effects or proper regulations in place. The result? Toxic fracking chemicals are making their way into local wells, putting drinking water at high risk of contamination. While gas companies have been spinning the truth about fracking for some time, a new study has confirmed a direct link between the fracking process and the contamination of drinking water.

Besides fracking, the top ten endangered rivers find themselves on the list due to mining, sewage pollution, development and overuse. And since our American rivers provide more than 65 percent of our drinking water, it’s high time we rally our efforts to protect these critical natural resources. Learn how you can take action to protect your rivers here!

Still confused about fracking? Get the facts from EarthShare member charity Food and Water Watch, and check out their report, Not So Fast, Natural Gas: Why Accelerating Risky Drilling Threatens America’s Water.

Would you rather watch the movie? Catch a screening of Josh Fox’s Gasland and share your thoughts and reactions with friends – and us! Tell us what you think in our comment section below, or share your thoughts with us on Facebook.

Speaking of clean water...

Thanks to all of you who voted to support your favorite environmental cause in our Garnier green giveaway! We’re thrilled to share more about how the Clean Water charities you picked will use the generous grant from Garnier to support their critical program work:

American Rivers, Oceana and Surfrider Foundation, all work to protect public health, rivers and marine environments for the benefit of communities, wildlife and nature. Here’s a look at how each group is planning to put their winnings to work for cleaner, safer water!

American Rivers will apply Garnier’s support to our work to protect and restore the nation’s rivers for communities across America through various conservation and volunteer programs, like National River Cleanup, that work to protect clean water and critical lands. For more information, visit:

Oceana will use Garnier’s donation to support its global ocean protection work, including protecting the pristine waters of southern Patagonia by preventing the expansion of Chile’s aquaculture industry, and preventing expanded oil exploration and drilling off the coasts of the U.S., Europe and Belize.

Surfrider Foundation will direct the funds toward their water quality-focused programs: Ocean Friendly Gardens, Know Your H2O, and Blue Water Task Force. These programs serve to educate communities about ways they can help keep coastal waters clean and healthy for everyone to enjoy.

Another big thanks to all who voted and helped spread the word! Thanks to your support, our Clean Water groups can advance critical program work to make our oceans, rivers, wetlands and waterways cleaner, safer and more sustainable.




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Mr. Muhamamd zamiluddin Khan

I sincerely hope there would be some kind of real cooperation, academic in nature ,but highly focused on real returns in making economic benefits accrued or otherwise for future generations of Americans and Developing Countries like Bangladesh,India,Pakistan etc.from the provisions of clean water to people in Developing countries.

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