Potomac Named a 'Most Endangered' River

American Rivers' annual list puts Potomac River at the top, citing concerns about whether Congress will weaken the Clean Water Act.

The Potomac River is one of “America’s 10 Most Endangered Rivers,” according to an American Rivers list released Tuesday.

“The Potomac is threatened by agricultural and urban pollution that will only get worse if Congress rolls back national clean water protections,” American Rivers reported.

American Rivers is a national non-profit conservation organization.

American Rivers receives nominations for its America’s Most Endangered Rivers report from river advocacy and conservation groups and residents nationwide. It chooses its annual 10 Most Endangered Rivers based on:

  • A major decision (that the public can help influence) in the coming year on the proposed action;
  • The significance of the river to human and natural communities;
  • The magnitude of the threat to the river and associated communities, especially in light of a changing climate, according to the organization’s website.

The Potomac River has made significant improvements in cleanliness since the 1960s and 1970s. “Today, however, the Potomac is still threatened by pollution from agricultural and urban runoff which will only get worse if Congress rolls back national clean water protections,” according to American Rivers.

In 2011, the from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Integration and Application Network.

Some of the other rivers on the American Rivers list include the Green River in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, the Missouri River and the Grand River in Ohio.


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