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View of the Youghiogheny River in the Alleghany Mountains, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (1898). A commons image.


Why do America’s Most Endangered Rivers still matter in the wake of a global pandemic?

Today, American Rivers releases its list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2020.  This is our annual list of ten rivers under threat that all Americans can take action to protect. And it’s our most popular campaign, generating hundreds of news stories, thousands of visits to our website and – most importantly – tens of thousands of citizen actions to save rivers every year.  The success of the list is evident to anyone who has recently visited the Hoback River in Wyoming, the Elwha in Washington, the Buffalo in Arkansas, the Holston in Tennessee, or any one of dozens of rivers across the country that were spared from existential threat by actions rallied by the America’s Most Endangered Rivers list.  But it’s fair to ask, as the novel coronavirus inflicts personal tragedy, economic hardship and unprecedented societal damage across the country, does the list matter in 2020?

The three trouts of the Youghiogheny River, or “Yough” as many locals call it, begins in the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland before flowing into the Youghiogheny River Lake (reservoir). Images provided courtesy of Thom Glace, award-winning artist.

American Rivers believes that we need clean water and healthy rivers more than ever now. Rivers provide the clean water that is absolutely vital to combat infectious disease; they keep our bodies hydrated, our hands and surfaces at home and in the workplace clean and disinfected.  In a time of social distancing and the lonely disconnection it fosters, rivers can provide solace and nourish the spirit, even if it’s only the daydream of a walk along the banks with a loved one, the perfect cast, or the ideal trim of a kayak.  Rivers and wetlands are home to wildlife and fish that bring joy to so many of us, whether you love the gleam of a trout’s scales, the goofiness of an otter’s play, or the chatter of a kingfisher as it looks for its next meal.  And while many of us are sheltering-in-place, others are still out there working, many on the rivers that continue to move our goods, treat our wastewater, generate our power, and feed our families.  We believe that life needs rivers, a conviction that is strengthened in a time when life seems more vulnerable than it did a few weeks ago.  We believe rivers connect us, and that connection is more important than ever.

America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2020:

  1. Upper Mississippi River (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin)
  2. Lower Missouri River (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas)
  3. Big Sunflower River Mississippi)
  4. Puyallup River (Washington)
  5. South Fork Salmon River (Idaho)
  6. Menominee River (Michigan, Wisconsin)
  7. Rapid Creek (South Dakota)
  8. Okefenokee Swamp (Georgia, Florida)
  9. Ocklawaha River (Florida)
  10. Lower Youghiogheny River (Pennsylvania)

Read the complete story here  . . .


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