Do You Know of an Endangered River? Nominate it Today!

Every year, American Rivers highlights threats to rivers across the country in our annual report on America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.

Levee break in Winfield, MO | Photo by Nancy Guyton

Rivers across the country are constantly facing challenges— their fates often in the hands of regulators or other decision-makers. People wonder what they can do to influence these decisions. Do decision-makers care what the public thinks? Well, some do.

Every year, American Rivers highlights threats to rivers across the country in our annual report on America’s Most Endangered Rivers®. In 2019 and 2017, we listed the Buffalo National River on this list. The public told the decision-makers that they didn’t want their water contaminated with hog waste. And guess what? They listened. You can read the story here.

Buffalo National River | Photo by Angela Peace
Buffalo National River | Photo by Angela Peace

Right now is your opportunity to let us know what rivers you think are threatened. Do you think that your favorite river is facing a critical decision in the coming year? Have you been wondering… why isn’t my river on the list when it faces so many threats? Let us know!

We are excited to announce that we are now accepting nominations for our 2020 report. Nominations are welcomed from any interested groups throughout the United States. 

Rivers are selected based upon the following criteria:

  • A major decision (that the public can help influence) in the coming year on the proposed action
  • The significance of the river to human and natural communities
  • The magnitude of the threat to the river and associated communities, especially in light of a changing climate
South Fork Salmon River | Photo by Daniel Patrinellis
South Fork Salmon River | Photo by Daniel Patrinellis

The report highlights ten rivers whose fate will be decided in the coming year, and encourages decision-makers to do the right thing for the rivers and the communities they support.  The report is not a list of the nation’s “worst” or most polluted rivers, but rather it highlights rivers confronted by critical decisions that will determine their future.  The report presents alternatives to proposals that would damage rivers, identifies those who make the crucial decisions, and points out opportunities for the public to take action on behalf of each listed river.

Please help us make the most of this great opportunity in 2020 by nominating a river you think deserves to be included on our list. We are especially interested in highlighting threats this year which impact marginalized communities (although this is not a requirement for nomination).

Deadline for nominations is Friday, November 1, 2019. For more information or a nomination form, contact us at

15 responses to “Do You Know of an Endangered River? Nominate it Today!

  1. I nominate the Menominee river, separating Michigan and Wisconsin. This river has a huge pool of mercury just downriver from the bridge going from Michigan to Wisconsin. I know of this because I know the Coast Guard licensed captain who navigated the EPA boat which made an evaluation of the river. They did not want to disturb the large pocket of mercury Thomas Webster, Petoskey, Michigan

  2. I nominate the St. Johns River, a north-flowing 310 miles of habitat, history, beauty, and variety along the east coast of Florida. Industry, pollution, transportation, and the water demands of a growing population threaten it daily — while it still retains wild places that offer a haven for all humans and creatures lucky enough to find them.

    The Ocklawaha, the Wekiva, and the Econlockhatchee Rivers are the St. Johns’ major tributaries, and the entire system is endangered.

  3. The historic Ocklawaha River in north Florida has a 50 year old defunct dam in it leftover from the boondoggle project, the Cross Florida Barge Canal (officially deauthorized in 1991). This dam drowns out 20 springs (potential manatee cold-water refuge sites) as well as historic steamboat landing sites, and archaeological sites. Considered the Everglades of north Florida, the dam degrades 15,000 acres of forested wetlands (part of which is located in the Ocala National Forest where the dam exists with an expired permit) and located in the middle of a critical linkage bottleneck of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The dam limits manatee and fish migration (striped bass, shad, sturgeon etc.) to the St. Johns River. It’s no wonder Silver Springs (connected to the Ocklawaha via Silver River) has had a 92% decrease in fish over the last 50 years. $46,500 was spent on herbicide spraying last year because of overgrowth of water vegetation in this not-allowed-to-flow river. No wonder there are restrictive fish consumption advisories for health concerns in the reservoir. Uneducated county commissioners think that the reservoir is magically filtering itself before reaching the St. Johns River. Biofiltration before reaching the St. Johns River is the ecosystem service that WOULD BE provided if the river was allowed to flow through the forested wetlands below the dam.

  4. I’m concerned for all the rivers mentioned, especially the one in Oklahoma…I tried to tell my friend who had a home in Pennsylvania and accepted the fracking agreement on her land….I live in Florida and of course, my concern is the Everglades….I’m sure you all have heard of the near destruction of the Everglades….

  5. I nominate the Colorado River. This incredibly stressed but vital River literally is being sucked dry by mismanagement, excessive demand, public and political ignorance, and structural interference. Heavens sake – it used to drain into the Rio Grande but now drys up before reaching the junction!

  6. The Edisto River North and South branches, and the main branch are under threat from two main sources : agricultural :pumping during summer and pesticide/insecticide mercury levels affecting fish advisories. Note: mercury also is associated with coal fuel in electrical power generation.

  7. The Lower Youghiogheny river watershed is recently being bombarded by recently permitted horizontal drilling fracking operations, and plans for drawing millions of gallons of water from the river to support these operations. This will all serve as a platform for a proposed natural gas fired power plant that is sited for along the Great Allegheny Passage national trail and the Yough recreational river. Purpose is to generate income for a financially strapped Western Pennsylvania working class community. The PA State Dept of Environmental Protection has failed to take into consideration the potential adverse environmental impacts that all this development will have on this beautiful river and riverfront land. PADEP has been issuing permits along with Elizabeth Township commissioners, despite pleas from citizens and regional conservation groups. Please help draw attention to this very serious situation with the Lower Yough and surrounding community, as out-of-state industrial corporations are leasing our treasured riverfront land from local and state lawmakers for $$$ dollars in royalties

  8. The Blanco River near Austin, Texas is threatened by a gas pipeline that is planned to go very close by. In Texas, oil and gas companies have eminent domain without due process by the landowners. The landowners are fighting with everything they’ve got, but could sure use your help. Check out Wimberly Watershed and Blanco Stop the Pipeline to learn more!

  9. I nominate the Kiamichi River (Ky-a-mish-ee) in southeast Oklahoma. This Pristine river runs through the poorest area of the state and is home to some varietys of fresh water mussels that are endangered such as the pocket book mussel. Oklahoma City is planning to divert most of the Kiamichi waters to be piped up to Oklahoma city to supply their river walk areas and have more clean water for their residents. Oklahoma City contaminated their own water supply by fracking.
    We are fighting this through the courts but we are in a David verses Goliath situation. Since our current President has hamstrung the EPA, we won’t get much help from the government. Please help us if you can.

    1. Kiamichi River in SE Oklahoma. A great river used for life surviving waters to many people and animals.
      Home of many endangered species. Such as the clear water musscle. Some of the poorest areas in the state depend on this river for every day life & survival. Please help the Kiamichi. It is in great needs of any help it can get. It’s water being sold to Okla City for pools and social water ways not a necessity but for Okla City beautification and fun doesn’t make sense when humans and animals are relying on the Kiamichis water to live.

  10. Hudson river is accutely threatened by bullet trains carrying hazardous materials on tracke that are in need of structural repairs and any derailment would be cathasthrphic

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