Tue, 2 Apr 2002 11:11:38 -0800 (PST)
From: American Rivers <[email protected]
Subject: Nation's Most Endangered Rivers of 2002 announced
Mime-Version: 1.0

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 http://www.americanrivers.org/mostendangered2002/

Want to be a hero?  Rescue your Most Endangered River. http://www.americanrivers.org/takeaction/

What if Lewis and Clark returned to the Missouri River today? Watch a sneak preview of our animation! http://www.americanrivers.org/missouririver/animation.htm

#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 http://www.americanrivers.org/mostendangered/missouri2002.htm

Army Corps of Engineers: the agency with a grip on our nation's rivers http://www.americanrivers.org/mostendangered/armycorps.htm

#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! http://www.americanrivers.org/bigsunflower2002/

Army Corps of Engineers: the agency that dams, dredges, and channelizes our rivers http://www.americanrivers.org/mostendangered/armycorps.htm

#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. http://www.americanrivers.org/takeaction/

#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. http://www.americanrivers.org/mostendangered/kansas2002.htm

Ready to do something about it?  Take action to help the Kansas now. http://www.americanrivers.org/takeaction

#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. http://www.americanrivers.org/mostendangered/white2002.htm

Army Corps of Engineers: the agency with a civilian construction mission http://www.americanrivers.org/mostendangered/armycorps.htm

#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. http://www.americanrivers.org/takeaction

#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 catch.

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: http://www.americanrivers.org/takeaction/

#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: http://www.americanrivers.org/mostendangered/allagash2002.htm

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: http://www.americanrivers.org/takeaction/

#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. http://www.americanrivers.org/takeaction/

#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. http://www.americanrivers.org/mostendangered/apalachicola2002.htm

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

To contact American Rivers, email Rebecca Sherman at [email protected] or call 202-347-7550, ext. 3052.

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April 17, 2000

2.      On April 10, American Rivers released the 15th annual Most Endangered Rivers Report, which spotlights the diminishing numbers and potential extinction of scores of freshwater fish and other species native to North America's rivers. Partially because of the impacts of dams, levees, and structural stabilization of riverbanks, freshwater species are vanishing as fast as tropical rainforest species.  The Mississippi River appears at number eight on the report.


To access the full Most Endangered Rivers Report of 2000, press releases, and additional information and contacts for each river, visit



To take action to protect and restore rivers, check out American Rivers*™ Action Network at www.actionnetwork.org/home.tcl?domain=AMRIVERS      This site allows you to send emails to your members of Congress, members of the Administration, agency officials, and others with the click of a button.


America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2000

1) Lower Snake River (WA)

2) Missouri River (MT, ND, SD, NE, IA, KS, MO)

3) Ventura River (CA)

4) Copper River (AK)

5) Tri-State River Basins (GA, AL, FL)

6) Coal River (WV)

7) Rio Grande (CO, NM, TX, and Chihuahua and Coahuila, Mexico)

8) Mississippi & White Rivers (MN, WI, IL, IA, MO, KY, TN, AR, MS, LA)

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