U.S. Watershed Destruction and the Tipping Point – World’s Rivers in Crisis

The world’s rivers, the single largest renewable water resource for humans and a crucible of aquatic biodiversity, are in a crisis of ominous proportions, according to a  global analysis. The report, published recently in the journal Nature, is the first to simultaneously account for the effects of impacts such as pollution, dam building, agricultural runoff, the conversion of wetlands and the introduction of exotic species on the health of the world’s rivers.

The analysis reveals a crisis – some 80% of the world’s human population lives where river waters are degraded or depleted according to the report.   Some of the highest threat levels are to be found in the United States according to the researchers.  The “fundamental chemistry of rivers in much of the U.S. has profoundly changed with agricultural chemicals, stormwater runoff, air pollution, high density of development and other threats,” according to Peter B. McIntyre, a professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology and co-author of the report.  > Read More


Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity
C.J. Vorosmarty, P.B. McIntyre, M.O. Gessner, D. Dudgeon, A. Prusevich, P. Green, S. Glidden, S.E. Bunn, C.A. Sullivan, C. Reidy Liermann, and P.M. Davies
Nature 467, 555-561 (30 September 2010) doi:10.1038/nature09440

World’s Rivers in Crisis

Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association

River Crossings, Vol 19, Number 4, December 2010

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