10 Most Endangered Rivers in America

The fight for clean water in America.

In 1965, high levels of sewage and toxic waste in the Potomac River led President Lyndon B. Johnson to call it “a national disgrace.” Several years later, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, a landmark piece of legislation that has been instrumental in ensuring the safety and cleanliness of America’s bodies of water for the past 40 years.

But the fight for clean water is far from over. Today, American Rivers released a list of the nation’s Most Endangered Rivers, with the Potomac topping the list. Not only does the river have high pollution levels, but its location in the heart of Washington, D.C., is emblematic of the recent Clean Water Act rollbacks in Congress, which will cut funding for river restoration projects nationwide. Take a look at the other rivers on the list, then join American Rivers’ efforts to preserve them.

(above) Potomac River (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Washington D.C.)

Green River (Wyoming, Utah, Colorado)

Chattahoochee River (Georgia)

Missouri River (Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming)

Hoback River (Wyoming)

Grand River (Ohio)

South Fork Skykomish River (Washington)

Crystal River (Colorado)

Coal River (West Virginia)

Kansas River (Kansas)


View more photo collections here

Images: Craig PenningtonDavidViswanath DuvvuriDarren BlackburnUS Army Corps of EngineerspflyThe Greater Southwestern Exploration CompanyapliiqPatrick Emerson, American Rivers

Jessica Marati

Jessica Marati currently resides in New York City and covers travel and sustainability for EcoSalon. Catch her weekly column, Behind the Label.