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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
Sound like a political tangle? Read up on the debate over the
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
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?
Remind the state about the importance of evaluating cumulative
impacts, and find out when upcoming public meetings will be held.
#8 The Allagash Wilderness Waterway (Maine)
Threat: Removal from the Wild and Scenic Rivers System; Loss of
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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