America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2015

Picture of Grand Canyon and Colorado River
Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Photo: Amy Kober

Rivers are the veins and arteries of our communities. They give us clean drinking water and are the lifeblood of the ecosystems that sustain us all.

But our rivers face many threats, and that is why every year American Rivers reports on America’s Most Endangered Rivers®. The list sounds the alarm about rivers facing urgent threats, and provides solutions and actions so people can make a difference.

Over the years, the report has helped spur many successes including the removal of outdated dams, the protection of rivers with Wild and Scenic designations, and the prevention of harmful development and pollution.

The 2015 report spotlights threats to the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon (#1 on the list) as well rivers including South Carolina’s Edisto, Montana’s Smith, and Washington and Oregon’s Columbia.

“This year’s report underscores the importance of healthy rivers to each and every American,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers. “Whether it’s for clean drinking water, ample water supplies for farms and cities, abundant fish and wildlife, or iconic places vital to our heritage, we all have a stake in protecting our nation’s rivers.”

America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2015:

#1: Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Threat: Massive construction project, mining pollution, groundwater depletion

At Risk: An irreplaceable national treasure

Millions of Americans recognize the Grand Canyon as one of the most iconic landscapes on the planet. But this natural masterpiece of the Colorado River faces a battery of threats. A proposed industrial-scale construction project in the wild heart of the canyon, radioactive pollution from uranium mining, and a proposed expansion of groundwater pumping at Tusayan, all threaten the Grand Canyon’s wild nature and unique experience that belongs to every American. Unless the Department of the Interior acts to stop these —> Read More