America’s 10 most endangered rivers place millions of people at risk

The top 10 most endangered rivers in the U.S. are putting water supplies and the well-being of millions of Americans at risk. Colorado River topped this year’s list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers released on April 19 by American Rivers.

“All life on this planet depends on clean, flowing rivers, so when rivers are at risk we must sound the alarm. America’s Most Endangered Rivers highlights the threats of climate change and injustice, and is a call for bold, urgent action,” said Tom Kiernan, president of American Rivers.

The organization has called for expanding the leadership of Tribal Nations and frontline advocates. The America’s Most Endangered Rivers campaign, now in its 37th year, puts a national spotlight on rivers in danger, raises local advocacy efforts and calls up the public to create a positive difference.

Through the years, the report has assisted prompt successes, including the removal of outdated dams, the protection of rivers with wild and scenic designations and the prevention of harmful development and pollution.

American Rivers studies nominations for America’s Most Endangered Rivers from local groups and individuals across the country and selects rivers based on three criteria such as the river’s significance to people and wildlife; the magnitude of the threat to the river and communities, especially in light of climate change and justice; and a decision in the next 12 months that the public can influence.

The Colorado River is ground zero for the climate crisis as water levels fall, and it is now threatening the life of 30 federally acknowledged Tribal Nations, seven states and Mexico.


On the Pacific Northwest’s Snake River (ranked No. 2), dams are generating fatally hot water temperatures that have driven salmon to the verge of extinction. This is a breach of treaties with Tribal Nations.

Pollution along Alabama’s Mobile (ranked No. 3) and Coosa (ranked No. 5) rivers are aggravated by progressively serious flooding, extremely affecting black and low-income communities.

Black, indigenous, Latino and other communities of color feel these impacts most severely because of historical and current policies, practices and norms that support injustices.

Also making it to the top 10 list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers are Maine’s Atlantic Salmon Rivers (No. 4), Mississippi River (No. 6), Lower Kern River (No. 7), San Pedro River (No. 8), Los Angeles River (No. 9) and Tar Creek (No. 10). (Related: Mekong River delta in Southeast Asia is facing major environmental upheaval by multiple proposed dams that will disrupt life for humans and animals)

Colorado River is America’s most endangered river

Nowhere are the effects clearer than on the Colorado River, America’s most endangered river this year, which is so overused that it dries up before reaching the sea.

Soaring temperatures and drought-driven climate change, together with outdated river management and the overloading of limited water supplies, endanger the region.

The Colorado River system is already working at a shortage and climate change is anticipated to further decrease the river’s flow by 10 to 30 percent by 2050.

For the first time ever, mandatory reductions generated by water shortage will lead to Arizona losing more than 500,000 acre-feet in Pinal County alone, which is about the drinking water supply for almost 1.5 million households.

The river sustains some of America’s biggest cities including Denver, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix.

It supplies drinking water for 40 million people, irrigates five million acres of farm and ranch land, and supports a $1.4 trillion economy. Still, many Tribal Nations across the basin suffer from a lack of modern water infrastructure because of systemic injustices and historic divestment.

American Rivers called on the seven basin states and the Biden administration to interact with the Tribal Nations to tackle this emergency. According to the group, the Biden administration must allot funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to carry out tested, impartial solutions that emphasize river health and water security.

“On the Colorado River and nationwide, the climate crisis is a water crisis. Just, equitable solutions for rivers and clean water are achievable and essential to our health, safety and future. We must come together to speak up for these 10 endangered rivers, and for all of the rivers that are vital to our lives,” Kiernan said.

Follow to learn more about America’s most endangered rivers.

Watch the video below to know why the Walmart heirs want to privatize the Colorado River and start a “water market.”

This video is from the Zoon Politikon channel on

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After releasing toxic pollution into rivers with zero accountability, the EPA convicts 185 other Americans for ‘environmental crimes’

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