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Group Names Country's Most Endangered Waterways, Colorado River Tops List

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April 17, 2013

Group Names Country's Most Endangered Waterways, Colorado River Tops List

By Chad Love

The environmental group American Rivers just released its annual list of the top 10 endangered waterways in the nation. Topping that list is the once-mighty—but now beleaguered—Colorado River.

From this story on abcnews.com:
Drought and demand are pushing the Colorado River beyond its limits — with the needs of more than 40 million people in seven Western states projected to outstrip dwindling supply over the next 50 years, according to an advocacy group's report on endangered rivers released on Wednesday. The annual top-10 list by Washington, D.C.-based American Rivers points to a three-year federal Bureau of Reclamation study that warned last December that the river won't always be able to serve all the residents, businesses, ranchers, Native Americans and farmers who rely upon it. Already, the Colorado River is drained of nearly every drop by the time it reaches Mexico, American Rivers spokeswoman Amy Kober said.

According to the story, the Colorado is called "the most controlled and plumbed river on Earth." The river water is irrigated to nearly four million acres of cropland and provides drinking water for millions of people along its path, including residents of Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

The other rivers on the list include the Flint River in Georgia, the San Saba River in Texas, the Little Plover River in Wisconsin, the Catawba River in the North and South Carolina, Minnesota's Boundary Waters, the Black Warrior River in Alabama, Rough and Ready and Baldface Creeks in Oregon, the Kootenai River in Montana and Idaho and the Niobrara River in Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

That's quite a list. Although I live in Oklahoma, my father lives in Libby, Mont. on the Kootenai, and I grew up fishing its waters. I consider it my home river. Are any of your favorite or home waters on the list?

Comments (5)

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from Dcast wrote 1 year 2 days ago

It's sad to hear this, but until those that live there and complain about it move out of an arid region, I really don't care. Come on folks if you live in a arid region and rely on one river for all your water needs as does several other states you need to use your cerebellum to figure out it doesn't work. Global Warming doesn't have anything to do with it, it is the human nature of wanting the best and beautiful everything. Everyone should move away and visit these types of places not live there and pillage them! As always common sense is not so common. If this had to do with pollution I would have a different view on this but it has nothing to do with pollution. Just human ignorance!

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from elkslayer wrote 1 year 1 day ago

Chad

What specifically threatens the Kootenai? Is there a very large demand on the water or is it the damage that the dams have done to the sturgeon, kokanee and burbot? Or is it sedimentation and logging?

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from mike0714 wrote 1 year 1 day ago

The problem is no one has water restrictions in the driest part of america!!! People can water their vast lawns and wash their cars out here when ever they want!!! Same for California!!!! May family in New York has restrictions on watering their lawns and washing cars but not here in the southwest?!?!? People wonder why we are draining our rivers and lakes. The worst part is that California repeatedly takes more then their allotment and is not charged more per gallon or fined. They also have not redone the allotment in over 20 years and the measurements for the allotment where taken on the wettest year in the last century. I could rant about this for ever. the miss-management of the Colorado river is proof of some of the worst policy making any politician has ever done.

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from wisc14 wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

little plover river in wisconsin is not too far away from me. it has run dry in some years, mostly due to pumping to irrigate potato fields.

i've recently read that the dnr, the potato farmers, and local universities are studying the problem. hopefully they can come up with some solutions and it all ends well.

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from Horseapples wrote 51 weeks 4 days ago

Wisc, I learned to trout fish on the Little Plover while attending college in Point. Caught my first trout on a pour imitation minnow streamer that I hand tied. It is a little gem of a river and is truly a shame that demands for groundwater outweighed this little river's right to exist. You are correct that it outright dried up a few years ago to provide water to near by potato fields. Things are looking up for groundwater levels this year aren't they. Will take quite some time to bring back trout populations though. It would do us all well to remember that we all live "downstream" from someone else!

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from mike0714 wrote 1 year 1 day ago

The problem is no one has water restrictions in the driest part of america!!! People can water their vast lawns and wash their cars out here when ever they want!!! Same for California!!!! May family in New York has restrictions on watering their lawns and washing cars but not here in the southwest?!?!? People wonder why we are draining our rivers and lakes. The worst part is that California repeatedly takes more then their allotment and is not charged more per gallon or fined. They also have not redone the allotment in over 20 years and the measurements for the allotment where taken on the wettest year in the last century. I could rant about this for ever. the miss-management of the Colorado river is proof of some of the worst policy making any politician has ever done.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 2 days ago

It's sad to hear this, but until those that live there and complain about it move out of an arid region, I really don't care. Come on folks if you live in a arid region and rely on one river for all your water needs as does several other states you need to use your cerebellum to figure out it doesn't work. Global Warming doesn't have anything to do with it, it is the human nature of wanting the best and beautiful everything. Everyone should move away and visit these types of places not live there and pillage them! As always common sense is not so common. If this had to do with pollution I would have a different view on this but it has nothing to do with pollution. Just human ignorance!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from elkslayer wrote 1 year 1 day ago

Chad

What specifically threatens the Kootenai? Is there a very large demand on the water or is it the damage that the dams have done to the sturgeon, kokanee and burbot? Or is it sedimentation and logging?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

little plover river in wisconsin is not too far away from me. it has run dry in some years, mostly due to pumping to irrigate potato fields.

i've recently read that the dnr, the potato farmers, and local universities are studying the problem. hopefully they can come up with some solutions and it all ends well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Horseapples wrote 51 weeks 4 days ago

Wisc, I learned to trout fish on the Little Plover while attending college in Point. Caught my first trout on a pour imitation minnow streamer that I hand tied. It is a little gem of a river and is truly a shame that demands for groundwater outweighed this little river's right to exist. You are correct that it outright dried up a few years ago to provide water to near by potato fields. Things are looking up for groundwater levels this year aren't they. Will take quite some time to bring back trout populations though. It would do us all well to remember that we all live "downstream" from someone else!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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