The Top 10 Most Threatened Rivers in the United States

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Rivers across the United States are being threatened by pollution, poorly designed dams and the inability of local and state governments to come up with plans for important waterways, according to a new report.

American Rivers, a conservation group, is warning that the failure to protect key rivers will deprive some regions of clean drinking water, exacerbate drought conditions and deny the public the ability to enjoy the recreational opportunities thriving rivers provide.

To highlight the issue, the group is releasing its top 10 most threatened rivers, a list that spans the country. Leading the rundown is the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin that affects Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Also making the cut is California's San Joaquin River, important to the state’s farmers, and the Susquehanna River, which runs through Pennsylvania and Maryland.

"We can’t live without clean water, and we don’t have an unlimited supply," American Rivers President Bob Irvin said in a press release. "As more people compete for a limited resource, everyone is losing: farmers don’t have reliable water for their crops; commercial fisheries are collapsing; urban supplies are strained; fish and wildlife are declining; and recreation businesses are closing their doors. Instead of continuing conflict, we need a new era of water cooperation that strikes a balance among all users."

Millions of people depend on clean drinking water from these endangered rivers, and water shortages could also lead to the loss of billions of dollars in agricultural production and fisheries, according to American Rivers. The group says it is noticing increased efforts by conservation organizations and state agencies to find sustainable water management solutions.

The annual report focuses on three factors: the magnitude of the threat; whether or not improvement projects are imminent; and the significance of the river to its environment and the people that rely on it.

America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2016

1. Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin

Located: Alabama, Florida, Georgia

Threat: Outdated water management

2. San Joaquin River

Located: California

Threat: Outdated water management

3. Susquehanna River

Locate: Pennsylvania, Maryland

Threat: Harmful dam operations

4. Smith River

Located: Montana

Threat: Mining

5. Green-Duwamish River

Located: Washington

Threat: Outdated dam and floodplain management, pollution

6. Pee Dee River

Located: North Carolina

Threat: Harmful dam operations

7. Russell Fork River

Located: North Carolina: Kentucky

Threat: Mountaintop removal mining

8. Merrimack River

Located: Massachusetts, New Hampshire

Threat: Polluted runoff

9. St. Lawrence River

Located: New York

Threat: Harmful dam operations

10. Pascagoula River

Located: Mississippi, Alabama

Threat: New dams

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Check Also

Officials break ground on new park honoring the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombing

Officials break ground on new park honoring the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombingSeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Officials broke ground in Boston Wednesday for a new park dedicated to Martin Richard, the youngest victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Martin was 8 years old when he killed on April 15, 2013, as he watched the marathon from near the finish line with his family. His mother was gravely injured, and his sister, who was 7 at the time,
lost a leg.

Photos from Wednesday's ceremonial groundbreaking show children in hard hats using shovels to dig dirt. Martin's Park, located next to the Boston Children's Museum at the Smith Family Waterfront,
is expected to open in the fall of 2018, according to a press release from the office of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

"This park will bring light & hope to that darkness, honoring his memory & allowing kids to be kids," Baker wrote on Twitter.

#MartinRichard lost his life to terror. This park will bring light & hope to that darkness, honoring his memory & allowing kids to be kids.

— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) August 16, 2017

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wrote on Twitter that the park will remind its visitors of "hope, compassion & love."

"Martin's spirit will always live on in Boston & in Martin's Park," Walsh wrote.

This park reminds us of hope, compassion & love a young boy taught us all. Martin's spirit will always live on in Boston & in Martin's Park.

— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) August 16, 2017

Both Baker and Walsh spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony, as well as Martin's family.

Martin's sister, Jane Richard, said she knows that her brother is happy that the community is coming together.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.