Nominations sought for list of America’s most endangered rivers

American Rivers, a national conservation organisation, is looking for nominations to its annual list of "most endangered rivers". In order to be eligible there must be at least one decision scheduled to be taken between April 2000 and April 2001 that "could significantly affect the health of the river, for better or worse".

The annual list draws national attention to the featured rivers and is used by American Rivers to mobilise community action. Rivers are evaluated and ranked by American Rivers based on the following criteria:

  • the magnitude of the threat
  • the imminence of the threat
  • the likelihood that major action during the coming year could either magnify or decrease the threat
  • the regional and national significance of the river
  • the river’s qualifications as a representative of threats facing other rivers across the country.

The rivers highlighted in the organisation’s 1999 list were:

  • Lower Snake river, Washington
  • Missouri river, flowing through 7 states including Missouri
  • Alabama-Coosa-Tallapossa river, Georgia & Alabama
  • Upper San Pedro river, Arizona & Mexico
  • Yellowstone river, Montana & North Dakota
  • Cedar river, Washington
  • Fox, Illinois & Wisconsin
  • Carmel, California
  • Coal, West Virginia
  • Bear river, Utah

American Rivers was founded in 1973 to campaign for the expansion in the number of rivers protected by the US National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. It counts its successes as including the preservation of more than 22,000 miles of river and more than 5.5 million acres of riverside land.

Policies that promote flood control, hydropower policy reform (including the removal of dams), endangered aquatic and riparian species protection, as well as the protection of western instream flow, clean water and urban rivers are supported by the organisation.

Conservation efforts are focused on three elements of healthy rivers. These are:

  • Headwaters – they define, to a great extent, the overall health of the river
  • Natural flow – maintenance of natural flows is essential to aquatic heatlh
  • Riparian zones – areas directly next to a river that act as buffers for the river from the outside world.

Nominations for America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2000 are due by 11 October.

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