Without fail — year after year — American Rivers teams up with grassroots conservationists to create the America’s Most Endangered Rivers report. Each year, this report serves as a trusted resource that outlines the nation’s ten most at-risk rivers; the threat being posed to said rivers; and what needs to be done to save the precious waters in each case. As American Rivers puts it:
“The report highlights ten rivers whose fate will be decided in the coming year, and encourages decision-makers to do the right thing for the rivers and the communities they support. It presents alternatives to proposals that would damage rivers, identifies those who make the crucial decisions, and points out opportunities for the public to take action on behalf of each listed river.”
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act and American Rivers has chosen to focus on it, calling to attention the fact that Congress has attempted to roll back Clean Water Act safeguards again and again. In its 2012 report, American Rivers explicitly states in the ‘What Must Be Done’ section of the #1 river (The Potomac):
“Congress must not pass legislation that weakens the Clean Water Act or prevents the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from restoring protections for small streams and wetlands under the Act. The Administration must finalize guidance clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act and issue a rule-making to ensure that all of our waters get the protections Americans expect and deserve. Our nation’s leaders have a responsibility to safeguard our drinking water supplies by strengthening protections, not weakening them.”
While this year’s most endangered rivers cross the continental United States, two such rivers flow through Osprey’s home turf: Colorado. The Green River, the largest tributary of the Colorado River, faces a proposal to pump 250,000 acre feet of water from the Green into a pipeline over 500 miles into Colorado’s Front Range — posing a direct threat to the river’s rural agriculture and native species, as well as the recreational and tourism opportunities it provides to locals and visitors alike. The Crystal River, which provides drinking water to 7,000 people and is home to rare species of plants, cutthroat trout, Bald Eagles and more, is at risk of being home to new dams and water diversions that could destroy the natural wonderland that currently abounds.
Threats like the two detailed above are abundant in today’s rivers — as can be seen in the 2012 report. So, what can you do? Speak up and raise awareness about America’s Most Endangered Rivers, Check out the American Rivers website to learn more about ways you can spread the word via Facebook, Twitter or a personal blog. But get started today by talking about America’s rivers and the threats that are facing them. Take action now.
Here at Osprey, we’re committed to protecting the world around us. Each Thursday, we share stories, action alerts or news from the groups we support. To learn more about our commitment to the environment, please visit our website.