Announcing America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2014!

San Joaquin, CA river diversions outside Stockton | © Sarah Craig

#1 Most Endangered River is the San Joaquin, CA | © Sarah Craig

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The time has come! Today, American Rivers is announcing our report on America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2014!

And the Most Endangered River in the nation this year is:


Outdated water management and excessive diversions, compounded by the current drought, have put the San Joaquin River at a breaking point. American Rivers is calling on the California State Water Resources Control Board to increase flows in the river to protect water quality, fish, and recreation, and support sustainable agriculture. American Rivers is also urging Congress to preserve agreements and laws designed to protect the San Joaquin River and the jobs and communities it supports.

Four million people live in the San Joaquin watershed. The river and its tributaries support some of the most productive and profitable agriculture in the world, irrigating more than two million acres of arid land. However, the river is so heavily exploited that it runs dry in certain stretches. The current drought is placing additional stress on the river and revealing the inadequacies of status quo water management for both people and the environment.

On the San Joaquin and across the nation, communities can increase their ability to deal with drought now and in the future by protecting and restoring rivers and using water more efficiently. This same reality led the Colorado River to top the list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2013. This year, three rivers in the Colorado River Basin appear on the list- drilling down to some specific issues on-the-ground within the Basin. Those listings include: Upper Colorado River (#1), Gila River (#4), and White River Colorado (#7).

The annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® report is a list of rivers at a crossroads, where key decisions in the coming months will determine the rivers’ fates. Over the years, the report has helped spur many successes including the removal of outdated dams, the protection of rivers with Wild and Scenic designations, and the prevention of harmful development and pollution.

Without further ado, I present America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2014:

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#1 San Joaquin River
Threat: Outdated water management and excessive diversions
At Risk: River health and resilient communities

#2 Upper Colorado River System
Threat: New trans-mountain water diversions
At Risk: River health and recreation

#3 Middle Mississippi River
Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky
Threat: Outdated flood management
At Risk: Wildlife habitat and public safety

#4 Gila River
New Mexico
Threat: New water diversions
At Risk: River health, fish & wildlife, recreation, and tourism

#5 San Francisquito Creek
Threat: Dam
At Risk: Fish and wildlife habitat and public safety

#6 South Fork Edisto River
South Carolina
Threat: Excessive water withdrawals
At Risk: Fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, and water quality

#7 White River (CO)
Threat: Oil and gas drilling
At Risk: Drinking water supplies and fish and wildlife habitat

#8 White River (WA)
Threat: Outdated dam and fish passage facilities
At Risk: Salmon, steelhead, and bull trout populations

#9 Haw River
North Carolina
Threat: Polluted runoff
At Risk: Clean water

#10 Clearwater/Lochsa Rivers
Threat: Industrialization of a Wild and Scenic River corridor
At Risk: Scenery, solitude, world-class recreational values

6 Responses to “Announcing America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2014!”

kevin nelson

Would be nice to see more action being taken with the coal ash spills in NC on the Dan River. Duke Energy doesn’t seem to be taking it very serious and I think the long term effects aren’t being addressed properly.

teresa hunt

ono~ not the Clearwater!!!! it is in my heart as the most beautiful rivers on the planet :-(

Dean Ricer

The Pecos River and the Rio Grande watershed is the 10th most overused river system in the world. Why are neither on the list? Is it because they are already too far gone?

    Stan Pully

    I Agree. The Rio Grande does Not exist below El Paso until Rio Conchos from Mexico flows into it and it is usually just a trickle. The Pecos River should be on List every year. I would like the lower part in Texas(In Canyons) get Wild and Scenic River Protection one Day but it needs to have wáter restored and pollution clean up First!.


The ultimate threat to our environment including our rivers is mass immigration driven overpopulation. Why do environmental organizations refuse to address this threat? U.S. population in 1950: 152 million; in 2014: 320 million; in 2050: 435 million, with 75% of that growth due to mass immigration,(projected by census bureau at current immigration rate); and some politicians and special interests actually want to increase immigration. We are already beyond the point of sustainability. Adding 100+ million more inhabitants will be disastrous.

Gene Sengstake

Thanks Robert – you’ve pretty much said it all – – – aside from the “it’s all about us” attitude of the human population in general – overpopulation is the root cause of most of the world’s problems – and nobody wants to talk about it because realistically there’s nothing to be done. Mother Nature is going to run her course – the environment will continue to be systematically destroyed – and despite all the well-intentioned efforts of the few – we have already for the most part passed the point of no return – – –