Baby Steps for Big Endangered River – Who Will Be Next?

Over the years, one of the recurring visitors to our list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® is the Rio Grande on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.The Rio Grande appeared on the list in 1993, 1994, 2000, and 2003. The challenges with managing the waters of the river have proven to be abundant, and unfortunately the process to improvement has been slow. However, the river’s spotlight through our MER program has encouraged some progress towards tackling these tough problems.

Photo © Stewart Tomlinson, USGS

Recently, the Rio Grande was designated as a national Great Water by the Great Waters Coalition, in part due to its listing as endangered. Through the Great Waters Coalition, the new Rio Grande Rio Bravo Regional Advisory Council will craft a comprehensive program for the sustainable management and use of the river— something that is essential to improving the health and viability of the river for the U.S. and Mexico. The program will also help create the enabling socio-economic and policy mechanisms to identify and implement an agreed-upon action program.

By taking a multi-state, multi-nation approach, the Coalition hopes to move towards sustainable management of the Rio Grande for the benefit of citizens of both the U.S. and Mexico. Hopefully this collaboration will be able to achieve greater strides towards improved water management for the Rio Grande Basin.

This story is just one of many where America’s Most Endangered RiversTM has helped prompt action to better manage and protect an important river resource. Guess what? There are still endangered rivers out there, so we will be sounding the call to action again this year!

Join us on May 17 for the 2011 release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers! If you want to hear the news right away, be sure to sign up on our e-mail notification list!