The Top 10 Most Endangered Rivers in 2014

The nation­al con­ser­va­tion group, Amer­i­can Rivers, unveiled their annu­al list today of the Top 10 Most Endan­gered Rivers in the Unit­ed States. Some are nation­al icons, like the Mis­sis­sip­pi; oth­ers are vir­tu­al unknowns, like the Haw Riv­er in North Car­oli­na. Their only com­mon ground are that each one faces impend­ing indus­tri­al­iza­tion. Threats like oil and gas drilling, water diver­sion, and pol­lut­ed runoff are all cloud­ing these rivers’ futures— the good news: This is the year you can save them. 

Every riv­er on this list faces a key deci­sion in the upcom­ing months that will deter­mine its future. So while it may look like a police line­up of the usu­al sus­pects, it is also a call to action; a time to stand up and give full-throat­ed sup­port for the rivers you love. So, with­out fur­ther ado, here is the list of the Top 10 Most Endan­gered Rivers in 2014. How many do you know? Click on the riv­er to learn more about it.
Ali­son Jones

1. San Joaquin Riv­er, Cal­i­for­nia
Threat: Out­dat­ed water man­age­ment and exces­sive diver­sions
At Risk: Riv­er health and resilient communities


2. Upper Col­orado Riv­er Sys­tem, Col­orado
Threat: New trans-moun­tain water diver­sions
At Risk: Riv­er health and recreation

Ted Heisel
Ted Heisel

3.  Mid­dle Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er, Mis­souri, Illi­nois, Ken­tucky
Threat:  Out­dat­ed flood man­age­ment
At Risk:  Wildlife habi­tat and pub­lic safety

Dennis OKeefe
Den­nis OKeefe

4.  Gila Riv­er, New Mex­i­co
Threat:  New water diver­sions
At Risk:  Riv­er health, fish & wildlife, recre­ation, and tourism 

Matt Stoecker
Matt Stoeck­er

5. San Fran­cis­qui­to Creek, Cal­i­for­nia
Threat:  Dam
At Risk:  Fish and wildlife habi­tat and pub­lic safety

Chris Hall
Chris Hall

6.  South Fork Edis­to Riv­er, South Car­oli­na
Threat:  Exces­sive water with­drawals
At Risk:  Fish and wildlife habi­tat, recre­ation, and water quality


7. White Riv­er, Col­orado
Threat:  Oil and gas drilling
At Risk:  Drink­ing water sup­plies and fish and wildlife habitat

Eric Marner
Eric Marn­er

8. White Riv­er, Wash­ing­ton
Threat:  Out­dat­ed dam and fish pas­sage facil­i­ties
At Risk:  Salmon, steel­head, and bull trout populations

Haw River Assembly
Haw Riv­er Assembly

9.  Haw Riv­er, North Car­oli­na
Threat:  Pol­lut­ed runoff
At Risk:  Clean water

Roger Inghram
Roger Inghram

10. Clearwater/Lochsa Rivers, Ida­ho
Threat:  Indus­tri­al­iza­tion of a Wild and Scenic Riv­er cor­ri­dor
At risk:  Scenery, soli­tude, world-class recre­ation­al values


These rivers sup­port recre­ation, wildlife, and scenery as diverse as the Amer­i­can land­scape itself. They tum­ble down from the Rock­ies, mean­der through the Heart­lands, and unfurl into Atlantic marsh­es. They spread across this coun­try and they tell a sto­ry. These rivers are endan­gered because they are abused and mis­man­aged. But if you’ve ever dipped your pad­dle into a riv­er and felt the mus­cu­lar tug of the cur­rent, or hooked a fish from a silent back­wa­ter, then you already know the val­ue of a riv­er. This is your chance to pro­tect it, to get involved, to make sure the rivers of Amer­i­ca remain healthy, wild, and free.

By: Tim Gib­bins