America’s Most Endangered Rivers® 2023 Spotlight on Human Health and Public Safety

America’s Most Endangered Rivers® 2023 Spotlight on Human Health and Public Safety
America’s Most Endangered Rivers® 2023 Spotlight on Human Health and Public Safety

Today, we released our list of America’s most endangered rivers for 2023.

From dams and outdated water management to toxic pollution and development projects that destroy river habitats, this report highlights ten of America’s rivers at crossroads whose fate will be decided in the coming year. This year’s list highlights the importance of rivers to human health, public safety and community health.

We at American Rivers are grateful for the leadership, hard work, and wealth of knowledge of our local partners on the front lines, without whom this campaign would not have been possible. We look to their guidance and leadership as we continue our fight for river protection and water justice across the nation.

Number one this year is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and one of America’s greatest natural treasures: the Colorado River at the Grand CanyonFor the second year in a row, it’s no surprise that the Colorado River tops the list of most endangered rivers, as outdated water management, overuse and climate change all pose significant risks to this national treasure. This year, however, the Grand Canyon is in particular focus due to severe drought. When making critical decisions about water management along the Colorado River, policymakers must recognize that the environment is an essential component of human health and public safety—absolutely critical to the 40 million people who depend on the river for drinking water.

“The laws of nature tell us that we should treat Mother Earth as our own. When she is in trouble, we should respect and raise her,” Eric Stanfield of the Navajo Nation’s Historic Preservation Department commented on the Grand Canyon’s most recent List of endangered rivers said.

“Our concern for her should not be a reflection of self-interest, but a selfless effort to reciprocate when we get it. We cannot reciprocate all of her gifts, but we can express her kindness, gratitude and The willingness to sacrifice while suffering. This is the ethic we wish to pass on to the world beyond Diné Island. The Colorado River, Tooh of Diné Bizaad, is in a grave crisis and needs our kindness, gratitude and sacrifice to heal. ”

Galenas Village and Hermit Peak | Jacob Erickson, Communications Director, HPWA
Galenas Village and Hermit Peak | Jacob Erickson, Communications Director, HPWA

in the same area rio gallinas also suffer from the adverse effects of climate change. Community-centered, coordinated restoration efforts are critical to protecting the river’s future.

For the Ohio, Clark Fork, and Lehigh Rivers, pollution threatens the safety and quality of life of local communities.Train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio highlights ohio river and the value the river provides to the more than 5 million people who depend on it for drinking water.A closing pulp mill threatens clark fork r.actively leaking toxic chemicals into groundwater, increasing the risk of catastrophic flooding, and poorly planned development along the route lehigh r. Threats to water quality and critical fish and wildlife habitat.

Okefenokee Swamp | Georgia River Network
Okefenokee Swamp | Georgia River Network

inside Okefenokee Swamp, We must avoid the risk of increased drought and catastrophic fires from mining plans. Okefenokee is a unique wetland and an international treasure, but the proposed titanium mine threatens the marshes and ancestral lands of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation.

The effects of climate change are happening, exacerbating more severe droughts and floods, and pollution threatening drinking water sources. Unjust policies disproportionately place the burden of these impacts on Black, Latino and Indigenous communities, tribal peoples and other communities of color.

this Pearl RiverFor example, one of the most biodiverse rivers in the country and a major source of drinking water for the black community of Jackson, Mississippi, is under threat from the One Lake development. The project will exacerbate urban flooding, exacerbate the ongoing water crisis, and divert much-needed resources away from marginalized communities, causing severe environmental injustice.

Glacier Creek is a tributary of the Klehini River | Derek Poinsett

Tribal livelihoods, cultures, livelihoods and treaty rights are being threatened on the Snake, Eel, Chilkat and Cleshiny Rivers. We must have knowledge of the tribal peoples, the original custodians of the land, who have lived along these rivers since ancient times.exist snake and eel river, dam removal is necessary to protect critical fish habitat, comply with treaties and commitments to tribal nations, and improve community health and well-being.for the Chilkat and Crashney Rivers, Appropriate permitting requirements are needed to ensure protection of the entire ecosystem of the Chilkat Valley, which is critical habitat for the largest concentration of bald eagles in the world.

Climate change, outdated water management, drought, dams and other threats put human health, public safety and community health at risk. Rivers are vital community health resources and the lifeblood of our communities, cultures and livelihoods.

Our rivers need our protection. Now is the time to act. Our health and future depend on it.

We need individuals and communities to stand with American Rivers and our partners to protect and restore the rivers that support all life. We need your help to ensure the protection of this year’s most endangered river. Rivers are sacred. Rivers are life. Take action today!

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