America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2011 Announced Today

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With rivers and flooding in the spotlight, the 2011 list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers is a reminder that we need to protect and restore rivers and clean water nationwide.

Map of America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2011

Map of America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2011

Rivers provide 65 percent of our drinking water. They also give us natural flood protection. We need to protect and restore our rivers to ensure public health and safety.

With floodwaters swelling the Mississippi River to historic levels and rivers nationwide at risk from gas drilling, sewage pollution, and other threats, American Rivers today released its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers (TM).

The Susquehanna River, the drinking water source for six million people and a victim of natural gas development (“fracking”) is the most endangered river in the United States. American Rivers added a special mention on the 2011 list for the Mississippi River, given the unprecedented nature of recent flooding and the opportunity to improve flood management for public safety and river health.

“Healthy rivers are great assets and give communities so many benefits, including clean water and natural flood protection,” said Andrew Fahlund, senior vice president of conservation at American Rivers. “This year’s list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers is a clear reminder that if we don’t protect and restore our rivers, then public safety, the economy, and the environment will suffer grave consequences.”

On the Susquehanna River, the fracking process requires taking large amounts of water from rivers and streams, which is then mixed with sand and toxic chemicals and pumped underground to extract the natural gas. Current facilities can’t adequately treat the highly toxic wastewater that is generated, and there are insufficient government safeguards to ensure the wastewater doesn’t contaminate drinking water supplies.

American Rivers called on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and the states of New York and Pennsylvania to issue a moratorium on natural gas drilling-related permits until the industry can prove they can operate without damage to the river and clean water supplies. American Rivers also called on Congress to do away with the loopholes that have allowed the natural gas industry to avoid basic standards for public and environmental health.

In listing the Mississippi as a “special mention”, American Rivers pointed to outdated flood management strategies and over-reliance on levees that have contributed to the record flood damage. American Rivers called for a strategy that combines structural flood protection solutions like levees with “natural defenses” like healthy wetlands and floodplains that absorb floodwaters.

America’s Most Endangered Rivers 2011:

SPECIAL MENTION: Mississippi River
Threat: Outdated flood management

1) Susquehanna River (NY, PA, MD)
Threat: Natural gas extraction

2) Bristol Bay (AK)
Threat: Massive copper and gold mine

3) Roanoke River (VA, NC)
Threat: Uranium mining

4) Chicago River (IL)
Threat: Sewage pollution

5) Yuba River (CA)
Threat: Hydropower dams

6) Green River (WA)
Threat: Exploratory drilling and mine development

7) Hoback River (WY)
Threat: Natural gas extraction

8) Black Warrior River (AL)
Threat: Coal mining

9) St. Croix River (MN, WI)
Threat: Rollback of longstanding protections

10) Ozark National Scenic Riverways (MO)
Threat: Overuse and poor management

For the third consecutive year, America's Most Endangered Rivers™ is sponsored by [The Orvis Company, which donates 5% of their pre-tax profits annually to protect nature.

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Amy Kober
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