10 Most Endangered U.S. Rivers of 2018 Ranked
The annual report, now in its 33rd year, is unique in its spotlight on the Trump administration and industry-friendly members of Congress pushing policies that directly harm the iconic rivers.
“In our many years of issuing the America’s Most Endangered Rivers report, we’ve seldom seen a collection of threats this severe, or an administration so bent on undermining and reversing protections for clean water, rivers and public health,” said Bob Irvin, president of the national river conservation organization, in a statement provided to EcoWatch.
“This is the kind of destruction that will be difficult and, in some cases, impossible to reverse. If the Trump administration and its supporters in Congress succeed in rolling back bedrock environmental protections and handing over our rivers to polluters, the health, well-being and natural heritage of our nation’s families and communities will be impoverished for generations to come. We cannot let that happen.”
Topping this year’s list is Mississippi’s Big Sunflower River, home to a rich diversity of wetlands, fish and wildlife. The river is under threat from a measure that retiring Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) inserted into the Senate’s 2018 Omnibus bill that would revive the Yazoo Backwater Area Pumping Plant, or Yazoo Pumps project.
The $220 million proposal to build the world’s largest pump, which proponents say is necessary for flood control and would help the local economy, has been gestating since 1941. But it has long been opposed by environmentalists and even Sen. John McCain of Arizona who called it “one of the worst projects ever conceived by Congress” back in 2004. The project was vetoed in 2008 by President George W. Bush’s EPA under the Clean Water Act.
American Rivers said, “In reality, this is an agricultural drainage project that would benefit highly subsidized big agribusiness while increasing flood risk downstream and harming low income communities that depend on the area’s natural resources (i.e., subsistence fish and/or wildlife).” 04-10-18