Whitewater Paradise At Risk: American Rivers

American Rivers released its America’s Most Endangered Rivers™ of 2010 today and included West Virginia's Gauley River, which is world-famous for whitewater rafting, as the third-most-threatened river in the United States. Mountaintop removal mining, a red-hot issue in the state, in its watershed is the reason for the listing, the group said.

The group says rafting trips on the Gauley contribute about $16 million in annual revenue to West Virginia. "The river also supports trout and bass, but is scarred by coal mining impacts and subjected to degradation from ongoing mining activity," it says. Reporter Ken Ward Jr.'s Coal Tattoo blog for The Charleston Gazette reports frequently on the mountaintop mining debate in the state; many residents support the practice because it provides needed jobs.

American Rivers' 2010 report lists the Upper Delaware River in New York and Pennsylvania as the most-threatened U.S. waterway, saying this drinking water source for 17 million people in those states "is threatened by natural gas extraction activities in the Marcellus Shale, where chemicals are injected into the ground creating untreatable toxic wastewater." Ranked as the second-most-threatened waterway on the list is California's Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a drinking water supply for 25 million people and a major irrigation source, which American Rivers said is threatened by two efforts to reengineer the state water supply and flood control system.

Posted by Jerry Laws on Jun 02, 2010