Saving America's Endangered Rivers

2. Green River

Patrick DiGiulian of EarthShare member organization American Rivers talks about his organization's recent Most Endangered Rivers list along with his personal reasons for wanting to protect the nation's majestic rivers.


We all need clean water. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Fresh water is crucial to every living thing on our planet. Most of our drinking water comes from rivers. And rivers and streams also give us places to fish, boat and swim – not to mention homes for wildlife.

On May 15th American Rivers was proud to announce the 2012 America’s Most Endangered Rivers® report. The report highlights ten rivers whose fate will be decided in the coming year, and encourages decision-makers to do the right thing for the rivers and the communities they support.

We chose the Potomac as America’s #1 Most Endangered River for 2012 because of the threat from urban and agricultural pollution. While the Potomac River is cleaner than it used to be, pollution is still a serious problem – and it could get much worse if Congress rolls back critical clean water safeguards.

As a DC resident, the Potomac is especially important to me.  I get my drinking water from it, on the weekends I enjoy running along the Billy Goat trail at Great Falls National Park, and when I have the opportunity I kayak and sail by the DC monuments.  It is amazing how much of my life revolves around one single source.

As we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act this year, the
Potomac – known as “the nation’s river” as it flows by the capital -- is emblematic of what’s at stake for rivers nationwide.

Our president, Bob Irvin, said, “This year’s Most Endangered Rivers list underscores how important clean water is to our drinking water, health, and economy. If Congress slashes clean water protections, more Americans will get sick and communities and businesses will suffer. We simply cannot afford to go back to a time when the Potomac and rivers nationwide were too polluted to use.”

The America’s Most Endangered Rivers® report is one of the best-known and longest-lived annual reports in the environmental movement. Each year since 1986, grassroots river conservationists have teamed up with American Rivers to use the report to save their local rivers, consistently scoring policy successes that benefit these rivers and the communities through which they flow.

American Rivers reviews nominations for the report from river groups and concerned citizens across the country. We look at the significance of the river to human and natural communities and the magnitude of the threat to the river and associated communities. The report is not a list of the nation’s “worst” or most polluted rivers, but rather it highlights rivers confronted by critical decisions that will determine their future. The report presents alternatives to proposals that would damage rivers, identifies those who make the crucial decisions, and points out opportunities for the public to take action on behalf of each listed river.

You won’t be taking action to only protect the places I love and depend on, but you will be protecting the safety and well-being of millions of Americans. 

Take Action to Help Protect These Rivers! 

Thanks for helping to protect our rivers and clean water!

America's Most Endangered Rivers® of 2012:

#1: Potomac River (MD, VA, PA, WV, DC)
Threat: Pollution
At stake: Clean water and public health

#2: Green River (WY, UT, CO)
Threat: Water withdrawals
At stake: Recreation opportunities and fish and wildlife habitat

#3: Chattahoochee River (GA)
Threat: New dams and reservoirs
At stake: Clean water and healthy fisheries

#4: Missouri River (IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, ND, SD, WY)
Threat: Outdated flood management
At stake: Public safety

#5: Hoback River (WY)
Threat: Natural gas development
At stake: Clean water and world-class fish and wildlife

#6: Grand River (OH)
Threat: Natural gas development
At stake: Clean water and public health

#7: South Fork Skykomish River (WA)
Threat: New dam
At stake: Habitat and recreation

#8: Crystal River (CO)
Threat: Dams and water diversions
At stake: Fish, wildlife, and recreation

#9: Coal River (WV)
Threat: Mountaintop removal coal mining
At stake: Clean water and public health

#10: Kansas River (KS)
Threat: Sand and gravel dredging
At stake: Public health and wildlife habitat

Learn more about all of America’s Most Endangered Rivers and find out how you can get involved.


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