Rivers across the US have been deemed endangered due to extreme pollution and reduced clean water protections.

A report released by the American Rivers Association found all of New Mexico’s Rivers, which include the Rio Grande, Gila, San Juan and Pecos, are the most at-risk in the nation – and more than 85 percent of residents in the state rely on these systems.

Experts blame a loop hole in the 2022 Clean Water Act that means rivers that only run seasonally are not protected from run-off of wastewater treatment plants, mines and industrial sites.

Under the rollback of the Clean Water Act, the rivers that supplies millions of people with drinking water will become polluted, making people sick and harming the ecosystem. 

Other endangered rivers were identified as the Tijuana River in California and the Santa Cruz River in Arizona.

All rivers in New Mexico are endangered after the Supreme Court stripped safeguards from the Clean Water Act that protect rivers and wetlands from pollution run-off from wastewater treatment plants, mines and industrial sites

Rivers throughout the US provide drinking water to local communities, serve as a habitat for wildlife and are stopovers for major migratory birds. Pictured: Trinity River in North Carolina

Rivers throughout the US provide drinking water to local communities, serve as a habitat for wildlife and are stopovers for major migratory birds. Pictured: Trinity River in North Carolina

Rivers throughout the US provide drinking water to local communities, serve as a habitat for wildlife and are stopovers for major migratory birds. Pictured: Trinity River in North Carolina

The Duck River in Tennessee (pictured) is one of the top three most biodiverse rivers in the world used for drinking water, agriculture and large-scale manufacturing

The Duck River in Tennessee (pictured) is one of the top three most biodiverse rivers in the world used for drinking water, agriculture and large-scale manufacturing

The Duck River in Tennessee (pictured) is one of the top three most biodiverse rivers in the world used for drinking water, agriculture and large-scale manufacturing

‘All water is connected. We cannot allow pollution anywhere without risk to the rivers we rely on for our drinking water,’ said Tom Kiernan, President and CEO of American Rivers, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization focused on protecting the nation’s rivers. 

‘Our leaders must hold polluters accountable and strengthen the Clean Water Act to safeguard our health and communities.’

The Supreme Court’s decision in 2022 removed protection for rivers that only run seasonally – in the fall and winter – when there are higher levels of precipitation.

Top 10 endangered rivers 

  • 1. Rivers of New Mexico
  • 2.  Big Sunflower and Yazoo Rivers, Mississippi
  • 3. Duck River, Tennessee
  • 4. Santa Cruz River, Arizona
  • 5. Little Pee Dee River, South Carolina and North Carolina 
  • 6. Farmington River, Connecticut and Massachusetts
  • 7. Trinity River, California
  • 8. Kobuk River, Alaska
  • 9. Tijuana River, California
  • 10. Blackwater River, West Virginia 
<!—->

Advertisement

And that largely affected systems in New Mexico, because of the state’s dryer climate, the rivers only run during the rainy season or due to snowmelt.

‘These rulings fly in the face of established science and ignore the value that small streams and wetlands have to their broader watersheds, communities, and economies, particularly in places with dry climates like New Mexico,’ the report said.

The rivers in New Mexico provide clean drinking water, irrigation, rich cultural resources and house fish and wildlife habitat, making them essential to the environment and roughly 87 percent of the population that relies on the rivers.

More than providing resources to the immediate area, pollution in the endangered rivers can also have more disastrous consequences by extending to rivers like the Rio Grande which provides water for approximately six million people and countless wildlife.

The Tijuana River in California was named among the most endangered rivers due to pollution that is ‘making people sick,’ said Kristan Culbert, the associate director of American Rivers.

Data is still being gathered to determine the number of people who got sick from the river.

‘We know Navy SEALs have had to cancel training sessions due to contaminated water; we’ve seen news reports showing rivers of raw sewage flowing into the Pacific Ocean,’ California Rep. Scott Peters told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

A study published by the Rivers are Life coalition in December found that of the 7,000 people surveyed, 86 percent reported the polluted waterways are negatively affecting human health. Pictured: Little Pee Dee River in South Carolina

A study published by the Rivers are Life coalition in December found that of the 7,000 people surveyed, 86 percent reported the polluted waterways are negatively affecting human health. Pictured: Little Pee Dee River in South Carolina

A study published by the Rivers are Life coalition in December found that of the 7,000 people surveyed, 86 percent reported the polluted waterways are negatively affecting human health. Pictured: Little Pee Dee River in South Carolina

The Farmington River (pictured) runs in Connecticut and Massachusetts and is among the top 10 endangered rivers in the US. The rollback of the Clean Water Act means there will be a growth of toxic pollution including waste and raw sewage, rendering rivers unclean and unsafe

The Farmington River (pictured) runs in Connecticut and Massachusetts and is among the top 10 endangered rivers in the US. The rollback of the Clean Water Act means there will be a growth of toxic pollution including waste and raw sewage, rendering rivers unclean and unsafe

The Farmington River (pictured) runs in Connecticut and Massachusetts and is among the top 10 endangered rivers in the US. The rollback of the Clean Water Act means there will be a growth of toxic pollution including waste and raw sewage, rendering rivers unclean and unsafe

Toxic pollution including waste and raw sewage are polluting the river’s waterways and carrying it downstream to affect people on both sides of the US border. 

‘The Tijuana River has impacted the lives of countless community members from Mexico, the United States, and Indigenous Peoples for decades,’ said Courtney Baltiyskyy of YMCA of San Diego County. 

‘It is not just the river that is endangered,’ she said, ‘but also cultures, livelihoods, family homes, and the unique identity of the region.’

The Big Sunflower and Yazoo Rivers in Mississippi are home to more than 450 species of birds, fish and wildlife but is threatened by the Yazoo Backwater Pumps.

The pumps is also called the ‘Zombie Project’ which is draining and damaging 200,000 acres of waterfowl habitat – an area that is larger than all five boroughs of New York City.

The project was authorized in 1941 to control flooding, but instead has inadvertently drained the wetlands that serve as a major stopover habitat in the US for migratory birds, including waterfowl.

When its turned on, the Yazoo Backwater Pumps moves up to six million gallons of water per minute from one side of a flood-control structure to the other side.

Meanwhile, bodies of water like the Santa Cruz River was added to the endangered list because of the risk of water scarcity.

This river was once a desert oasis that dried up and was polluted for decades and has only started to come back to life in recent years, but climate change and water scarcity are threatening that progress, according to American Rivers. 

The rollbacks to the Clean Water Act will impede any headway the river has made to replenish itself, the association warned and has called on the Biden administration and local lawmakers to pass legislature that will reintroduce protections to waterways.

A study published by the Rivers are Life coalition in December found that of the 7,000 people surveyed, 86 percent reported the polluted waterways are negatively affecting human health.

‘I believe that addressing the pollution of waterways starts with awareness and education, and encouraging people to collectively take action,’ Chris Keefer, the co-founder of Rivers are Life told Forbes.

‘Our hope is that in learning about just how important rivers are to our communities globally, we can all take action to protect these vital waterways and recognize them as the lifeblood of our planet,’ said Keefer.

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Google and Facebook are ‘failing to take action to remove online scam ads’

Google and Facebook are failing to remove scam online adverts even after…

Outcry Grows Over AI Companies and Who Controls Internet’s Content

What to Read Next This post first appeared on wsj.com

Neuroscience Could Be the Key to Getting People to Wear Masks

Opinions about wearing masks and maintaining social distancing are sharply divided, largely…

Things to Do: Our 12 Top Tech Tips of the Year

Dec. 30, 2023 9:01 pm ET Want to be instantly smarter? Want…