Tue, 2 Apr 2002 11:11:38
From: American Rivers <[email protected]
Subject: 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
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
#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
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
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
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,
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.
#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
#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?
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?
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: 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
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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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.
access the full Most Endangered Rivers Report of 2000, press releases,
and additional information and contacts for each river, visit
take action to protect and restore rivers, check out American Rivers*
Action Network at www.actionnetwork.org/home.tcl?domain=AMRIVERS
allows you to send emails to your members of Congress, members of the
Administration, agency officials, and others with the click of a button.
Most Endangered Rivers of 2000
Lower Snake River (WA)
Missouri River (MT, ND, SD, NE, IA, KS, MO)
Ventura River (CA)
Copper River (AK)
Tri-State River Basins (GA, AL, FL)
Coal River (WV)
Rio Grande (CO, NM, TX, and Chihuahua and Coahuila, Mexico)
Mississippi & White Rivers (MN, WI, IL, IA, MO, KY, TN, AR, MS, LA)