America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2023


American Rivers lists the Most Endangered Rivers for 2023… and there are some familiar fly-fishing locales in the mix.

They are:

1. Colorado River, Grand Canyon (Arizona):
THREAT: Climate change, outdated water management 
AT RISK: Ecosystem health, reliable water delivery, regional economy

2. Ohio River (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois):
THREAT: Pollution, climate change 
AT RISK: Clean water for 5 million people

3. Pearl River (Mississippi): 
THREAT: Dredging and dam construction 
AT RISK: Clean drinking water, local and downstream communities, fish and wildlife habitat

4. Snake River (Idaho, Oregon, Washington): 
THREAT: Four federal dams 
AT RISK: Tribal treaty rights and culture, endangered salmon runs, rural and local communities

5. Clark Fork River (Montana): 
THREAT: Pulp mill pollution 
AT RISK: Public health, fish and wildlife

6. Eel River (California): 
AT RISK: Fish and wildlife, tribal culture and sustenance

7. Lehigh River (Pennsylvania): 
THREAT: Poorly planned development 
AT RISK: Clean water, fish and wildlife habitat, rural and local communities, open space

8. Chilkat and Klehini rivers (Alaska): 
THREAT: Mining 
AT RISK: Bald eagle, fish, and wildlife habitat, tribal culture and sustenance

9. Rio Gallinas (New Mexico): 
THREAT: Climate change, outdated forest and watershed management 
AT RISK: Clean drinking water, farming, watershed functionality

10. Okefenokee Swamp (Georgia, Florida): 
THREAT: Mining 
AT RISK: Fish and wildlife habitat, wetlands, water quality and flow

“The Colorado River, Tooh in Diné Bizaad, is in deep crisis and needs our kindness, gratitude, and sacrifice to heal,” says Erik Stanfield with the Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department, in response to our naming the Colorado River’s Grand Canyon as America’s Most Endangered River® for 2023.

Indeed, all ten Most Endangered Rivers of 2023, announced today, need our kindness, gratitude, and sacrifice to heal.

The sacred and iconic Grand Canyon is already feeling the severe impacts of climate change and outdated water management. Unless we act collectively to protect the river, the damage to people, wildlife, and river health will be devastating.

And from the Ohio River to the Clark Fork, from the Chilkat to the Lehigh, from the Eel to the Pearl, America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2023 underscore the fact that our health and safety depends on the health of rivers.

The good news? Your action makes a difference. Rivers are remarkably resilient and we have a strong track record of turning endangered rivers into success stories.

So, follow the links below to learn more and find out how you can help. Support the local leaders on these rivers and donate to make an impact for rivers nationwide.

For the rivers,

Amy Souers Kober
Vice President, Communications
American Rivers

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