Doyle Rice, USA TODAY Published 8:00 a.m. ET April 16, 2019 | Updated 2:24 p.m. ET April 16, 2019
Sure, we know about endangered species, but did you know there are endangered rivers, too?
Environmental group American Rivers released its annual list of the USA's top 10 "most endangered" rivers Tuesday, and this year, the top "dishonor" goes to New Mexico’s Gila River. The river got the top spot due to the grave threat that climate change and a proposed diversion project pose to New Mexico’s last free-flowing river.
"New Mexicans can’t afford to dry up their last wild river,” said Matt Rice, Colorado Basin director for American Rivers. “Ruining the Gila River with an expensive diversion project doesn’t make sense when there are better, more cost-effective water supply options.”
These rivers aren't the nation's "worst" or most polluted rivers. According to American Rivers, three factors put rivers on the list: the significance of the river to human and natural communities; the magnitude of the threat to the river and its nearby communities, especially in light of a changing climate; and a major decision that the public can help influence in the coming year.
“Climate change is striking rivers and water supplies first and hardest,” said Bob Irvin, President and CEO of American Rivers, in a statement. “America’s Most Endangered Rivers is a call to action. We must speak up and take action, because climate change will profoundly impact every river and community in our country."
In addition to the 10 most troubled rivers, American Rivers also named the Cuyahoga River in Ohio as the "River of the Year." The title celebrates the progress Cleveland has made in cleaning up the Cuyahoga, 50 years after the river’s infamous fire that helped spark the USA's environmental movement.
American Rivers has been compiling an annual list of the nation's most endangered rivers since 1984.
Here is the list of American Rivers' top 10 most Endangered Rivers.
1. Gila River, New Mexico
2. Hudson River, New York
3. Upper Mississippi River, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri
4. Green-Duwamish River, Washington
5. Willamette River, Oregon
6. Chilkat River, Alaska
7. South Fork Salmon River, Idaho
8. Buffalo National River, Arkansas
9. Big Darby Creek, Ohio
10. Stikine River, Alaska
SALMON BEYOND BORDERS is a campaign driven by sport and commercial fishermen, community leaders, tourism and recreation business owners and concerned citizens, in collaboration with Tribes and First Nations, united across the Alaska/British Columbia border to defend and sustain our transboundary rivers, jobs and way of life.
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