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NFC: Fw: Nation's Most Endangered Rivers of 2002 announced

American Rivers' Most Endangered Rivers report of 2002 tells the 
story of 11 rivers under threat across the country and an agency that 
has played a role in 60% of our Most Endangered Rivers over the 
years: the Army Corps of Engineers.

1.        Missouri River (MT, ND, SD, NE, IA, KS, MO)
2.        Big Sunflower River (MS)
3.        Klamath River (OR, CA)
4.        Kansas River (KS)
5.        White River (AR)
6.        Powder River (WY)
7.        Altamaha River (GA)
8.        Allagash Wilderness Waterway (ME)
9.        Canning River (Arctic Refuge, AK)
10.        Guadalupe River (TX)
11.        Apalachicola River (FL)

See a map of the rivers, photos, and read the full report at 

Want to be a hero?  Rescue your Most Endangered River.

What if Lewis and Clark returned to the Missouri River today? Watch a 
sneak preview of our animation!

#1 The Missouri River (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, 
Iowa, Kansas, Missouri)
Threat: Dam Operations

The Army Corps of Engineers will soon decide on a new plan for 
operating six dams on the Missouri River. To save the river's 
endangered fish and wildlife, the Corps must adopt the "flexible flow 
alternative" for operation of the dams.

Currently, the Corps operates Missouri River dams for the convenience 
of a few barge owners, at the expense of wildlife and recreational 
opportunities that a more natural river flow would provide for 
everyone in the basin. These current dam operations are forcing at 
least three species - the interior least tern, the piping plover, and 
the pallid sturgeon - toward extinction, and many other native 
species are in trouble.

Go straight to more about the number one Most Endangered River 

Army Corps of Engineers: the agency with a grip on our nation's rivers

#2 The Big Sunflower River (Mississippi)
Threat: Flood Reduction Projects

The Corps will soon begin work on a pair of projects that will scrape 
the heart out of the Mississippi's Big Sunflower River and drain its 
surrounding wetlands.  The Corps is proposing to spend more than $250 
million to construct two destructive projects: a dredging project and 
pumping project, both for flood control purposes.

Save the Big Sunflower from destructive plans to dredge 100 miles of 
river and to destroy 200,000 acres of wetlands!

Army Corps of Engineers: the agency that dams, dredges, and 
channelizes our rivers

#3 The Klamath River (Oregon, California)
Threat: Water Withdrawal and Pollution

The Klamath River once saw salmon runs numbering in the hundreds of 
thousands that supported a vibrant commercial fishery and the treaty 
rights of several Native American tribes. The upper Klamath basin in 
Oregon hosts the largest winter population of bald eagles in the 
lower 48 states, and millions of birds migrating along the Pacific 
Flyway still rest in the network of lakes and wetlands in the upper 
Klamath basin. Despite its enduring beauty, the Klamath suffers 
greatly from excessive water diversions for agriculture and polluted 
runoff in the upper basin. Today, four Klamath fish species are 
listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, 
the downriver commercial salmon fishery has been closed for decades, 
and the headwaters, Upper Klamath Lake, is the most polluted body of 
water in Oregon.  

To restore the water quality and salmon runs that fishing communities 
and Native American tribes depend on, federal agencies must develop a 
new operating plan for the Klamath. To encourage responsible 
stewardship, we must stop legislation that would override the 
Endangered Species Act and guarantee water to unsustainable 
agriculture at the expense of endangered fish, Native Americans and 
water quality.
Sound like a political tangle? Read up on the debate over the 
Klamath's water

Help pass legislation that would develop a balanced, long-term 
solution for both the ecosystem and agriculture. 

#4 The Kansas River (Kansas)
Threat: Pollution, Removal of Clean Water Act Protections

The Kansas legislature has abandoned the responsibility to maintain 
clean water in its namesake Kansas River as required by the Clean 
Water Act. Instead of cleaning up waters polluted by agricultural 
runoff and aggressively working to restore water quality to basic 
standards for human use, the state passed a "Dirty Water Law" in 
2001 - a sweeping withdrawal of Clean Water Act protections from many 
State waters.

The EPA has the power and responsibility to correct this problem. 
Tell the EPA Region 7 Administrator you expect him to prevent 
permanent degradation of the Kansas River and to fulfill the promises 
made to all Americans thirty years ago when the Clean Water Act was 
born - promises of safe, useable streams.

Not angry yet?  Read more about the Kansas River in the report.  

Ready to do something about it?  Take action to help the Kansas now.

#5 The White River (Arkansas)
Threat: Navigation and Irrigation Projects

The White River in Arkansas, a tributary of the Mississippi River, 
supports two national wildlife refuges in a rich, bio-diverse region. 
However, two Army Corps of Engineers projects threaten to destroy the 
ecological functions of the White River's water-driven ecosystem. 
First, an enormous irrigation project would suck more than 100 
billion gallons of water from the White each year. Plus the Corps is 
also proposing to construct hundreds of wing dikes to improve 
navigation for a handful of commercial barges. 

Advocates of the irrigation project may attempt to insert language in 
the emergency supplemental bill that is intended to help America 
fight the war on terrorism. This shameless attempt to fund a project 
outside the normal process must not be allowed; we should not allow 
taxpayer dollars to be doled out for special interests under the 
banner of national security.

Read more about the White River - a national treasure - and urge your 
Member of Congress to save it.

Army Corps of Engineers: the agency with a civilian construction 

#6 The Powder River (Wyoming)
Threat: Natural Gas Development

The booming coal bed methane (CBM) industry in the Powder River Basin 
of Wyoming and Montana creates an unusual threat for western 
communities and rivers: the prospect of too much water. This 
relatively new form of energy development uses many shallow wells to 
tap natural gas deposits along coal seams. The water then is 
typically discarded in massive quantities onto the ground, into 
makeshift reservoirs, or into nearby creeks - degrading soils, 
accelerating erosion, and threatening the water quality of the Powder 
River and its tributaries. 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing to release an 
Environmental Impact Statement this summer that will help determine 
whether CBM extraction proceeds in an environmentally responsible 
manner on an anticipated 51,000 CBM wells in the Powder River basin. 
Please urge President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and the BLM not to 
let runaway CBM drilling ruin the Powder River and its watershed.

Interested in massive gas drilling machines and winding Wyoming 
streams? Read more:

Please help now - comments are due by April 18th, 2002.

#7 The Altamaha River (Georgia)
Threat: Reservoir and Power Plant Construction

Population growth is projected to top 300% for some communities in 
the ever-expanding Atlanta Metro area in the next 20 years. In 
response to this population explosion, decision-makers propose to 
increase water withdrawals from neighboring rivers by even greater 
amounts (one county's water-use is predicted to grow over 400%). 
Instead of careful, region-wide planning, up-to-date efficiency 
measures, and simple restraint, the state of Georgia and the Metro 
region propose to allow the damming and destruction of vital 
headwaters streams, which nourish and sustain the precious Altamaha 
River - a surviving but threatened gem on the eastern seaboard.  

These assaults on the river are compounded by natural gas power plant 
proposals that are swarming the Southeast, particularly Georgia. The 
plants can take a devastating toll on streams: they suck up millions 
of gallons every day for cooling and return only a fraction of it to 
the river in a degraded condition. The Altamaha is under siege from a 
string of power plant proposals that would damage habitat, water flow 
and water quality. Cumulative impacts could be devastating to the 
uses the Altamaha River now supports - including its significant 
seafood industry, which provides over a third of Georgia's commercial 

Want to hear more about water and energy efficiency for the Altamaha? 
Read more:

Remind the state about the importance of evaluating cumulative 
impacts, and find out when upcoming public meetings will be held.  
Take action:

#8 The Allagash Wilderness Waterway (Maine)
Threat: Removal from the Wild and Scenic Rivers System; Loss of 
Wilderness Values

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway was created in 1966 when the people 
of Maine voted to protect the river; they issued a $1.5 million bond 
that would "develop the maximum wilderness character" of the Allagash 
River. In 1970, the Allagash became the first state-administered 
river under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. It remains 
arguably the premier wilderness river experience in the Northeast.

Since 1970, however, the Allagash has lost much of its primitive 
character to neglectful management. A dam was built illegally, and 
several drive-up access points and boat ramps have expanded motorized 
impacts on a supposedly "wild" river. Now the Allagash faces possible 
de-designation by the state legislature - the first time a river 
would ever been removed from the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Want to know about the threats to this wilderness jewel? Read more:

Ready to support the greatness of wilderness? Encourage the Maine 
legislature do the right thing.

#9 The Canning River (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska)
Threat: Oil and Gas Exploration and Development

The Canning River, which forms the western boundary of the Arctic 
National Wildlife Refuge, is threatened by proposed oil and gas 
exploration and development. With its limited water supplies (the 
Refuge receives just 6 inches of rain each year) the Canning 
watershed could easily be destroyed by water withdrawals for ice 
roads and other development activities.

To protect the Canning and its native species of polar bear, caribou, 
migratory birds, and Arctic fish from water and gravel extraction, 
oil spills, and general disturbance from development activities, we 
must stop federal bills authorizing drilling for oil in the area and 
pass legislation to permanently protect the Canning and the Arctic 
National Wildlife Refuge.

Read more about the Arctic Refuge's Canning River:

Help stop the latest assault on the Refuge:

#10 The Guadalupe River (Texas)
Threat: Water Diversion

The Texas state water plan proposes many dams, pipelines, and other 
diversion projects threatening river flows and fresh water inflow to 
Texas bays - spelling harsh consequences for fish and wildlife.  
Included in the plan is a dramatic increase in water diversions to 
San Antonio from the Guadalupe River, endangering this fragile yet 
diverse ecosystem that is home to a variety of plants and aquatic 

Taking a novel approach to saving rivers, the San Marcos River 
Foundation has filed an application for a water right to guarantee a 
reasonable amount of water for the river's instream flow. Should the 
Foundation secure the permit, it will donate the rights to a state 
water trust to ensure that the water stays in the river to reach the 
estuaries.  Unfortunately, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, 
which has applied for new rights to divert water from the river to 
sell to other users, is trying to get the state agency to dismiss the 
Foundation's application in favor of the Authority's later filing.

Read more about the Guadalupe River:  

Public comments and hearings are slated for summer 2002. Sign up to 
be notified when that time comes so you can take action.

#11 The Apalachicola River (Florida)
Threat: Dredging for Navigation

In a futile effort to maintain a commercial shipping channel that is 
barely used, the Corps of Engineers is steadily destroying Florida's 
Apalachicola River by scouring the river bottom, dumping the dredge 
material in sensitive habitat, and aggressively manipulating the 
flow. The Corps itself has conceded that its efforts are 
not "economically justified or environmentally defensible." 

Rather than pour more money into this wasteful project, Congress 
should de-authorize it altogether in the Water Resources Development 
Act of 2002. 

Read up on the beautiful Apalachicola River and Bay, and then call on 
Congress to save that beauty from ongoing, destructive practices.

Army Corps of Engineers: the builders of 8,500 miles of levees and 
11,000 miles of channels

Thank you robertrice at juno_com for helping to protect and 
restore America's rivers.

To contact American Rivers, email Rebecca Sherman at 
outreach at amrivers_org or call 202-347-7550, ext. 3052.

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