The non-profit advocacy group American Rivers is naming the Potomac the nation’s most endangered river, saying it is threatened by nutrient and sediment pollution that lowers the quality of drinking water and kills marine life.
The group’s annual report titled, “America’s Most Endangered Rivers,” notes what local friends of the Potomac have said for years: that urban development is funneling tons of polluted rainwater to the river; that chemical fertilizer and manure from farms make matters worse; and that wastewater overflowing from sewers, along with pharmaceuticals flushed down toilets, contribute to dead zones in which marine life dies and might cause fish to switch sexes. Some male fish in the river mysteriously have eggs.
The Potomac River, a large Chesapeake Bay tributary, supplanted another bay tributary (the Susquehanna River) as the Nation’s most endangered river. How does a river that was ranked first last year, now fall off the list? River restoration cannot be measured in a year, so it’s not that the Susquehanna is now fully restored. Heightening public awareness about the plight of all of our nation’s rivers is crucial, and the annual list is an effective marketing tool.
This year the Clean Water Act turns 40, and even in the face of severe threats to our water resources, Congress continues its attempts to roll back clean water regulations. Read more and find links about the rankings and the report:
To learn more about American Rivers: http://www.amrivers.org/
Author Doug Pickford of Trout Headwaters, Inc. (THI), an environmental planner with 20 years of experience in the Chesapeake Bay area, follows events in the bay watershed as the tide turns from voluntary to mandatory for bay cleanup regulations and protections. Doug’s blog series for THI will document what is likely the largest and most significant watershed clean up effort in the history of the U.S., and offer his insights into some practical ways to assist the health of this magnificent natural resource