America's Most Endangered Rivers: Protecting Our Drinking Water Sources and Ecosystems' Health

The importance of healthy rivers cannot be overstated. They provide drinking water for much of the United States and are essential for sustenance, livelihoods, transportation, recreation, and more. However, the future of America's rivers is threatened by a lack of federal protection, climate change, and unsustainable water usage.

In 2023, the US Supreme Court ruled in the Sackett v. EPA case, eliminating federal protections for millions of acres of wetlands and streams nationwide. This decision puts small streams and wetlands at risk of exploitation and pollution and increases the possibility of pollution seeping into drinking water sources.

To raise awareness about the imminent threats to clean water in the United States, American Rivers, an environmental advocacy group, publishes an annual report titled "America's Most Endangered Rivers." This year's report highlights ten rivers facing various threats, from climate change to development to poor water management. The report aims to inspire action to protect clean water resources and the health of ecosystems and communities.

This year's endangered rivers include the Rio Grande in New Mexico, the Big Sunflower and Yazoo Rivers in Mississippi, the Duck River in Tennessee, the Santa Cruz River in Arizona, the Little Pee Dee River along the coastal plain of South Carolina, the Farmington River in Connecticut and Massachusetts, the Trinity River in California, the Kobuk River in Alaska, the Tijuana River along the US-Mexico border, the Blackwater River in West Virginia, and others.

These rivers face diverse threats, including dams, pollution, and unchecked water usage. The report highlights the need for urgent action to protect clean water resources and calls for better water management, nature-based solutions, and non-structural approaches to protect and restore America's rivers.

Read more