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The Colorado River meanders through the Grand Canyon, America’s most endangered waterway – Report | US News

277-mile stretch of colorado The river that winds its way through the iconic Grand Canyon is America’s most endangered waterway, a new report reveals.

The Grand Canyon’s unique ecosystem and cultural heritage are at risk of collapse due to prolonged drought, rising temperatures, and outdated river management. annual endangered list.

That future hangs in the balance as the Biden administration poises to change how the Colorado River’s dwindling water is distributed. Further restriction of river flow risks turning the Grand Canyon into an ecological victim zone, causing irreparable damage to wildlife, fish and sacred sites, the report warns.

“The Colorado River is on the brink of collapse and the Grand Canyon is at the crosshairs…trying to solve watershed water problems at the expense of the health of the Grand Canyon is sheer tragedy,” said Shinjin of the United States. everle said river“This is a total emergency.”

The annual snapshot of the nation’s most endangered rivers shows that 10 waterways in the United States are at a critical crossroads. Here, key decisions in the coming months will determine your long-term fate.

Now in its 38th year, the annual ranking has spurred the removal of obsolete dams, cleanup and conservation designation, and the prevention of destructive development.

The 2023 list includes rivers that traverse 17 states and numerous sovereign tribal nations, providing drinking water, food, recreation and spiritual nourishment to millions of people. Waterways are threatened by mining, climate change, dams, industrial pollution, outdated river management practices, and for too long Native Americans have rejected traditional knowledge and sustainable techniques tried and tested. I was.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), two-thirds of the U.S. water supply comes from three million miles of rivers, but nearly half (44%) of the waterways are so polluted that fishing or swimming is prohibited. increase.

A map of the 10 most endangered rivers in the United States

Stretching 1,500 miles from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of ​​Mexico, the Colorado Basin provides drinking and irrigation water for 40 million people, including America’s most populous cities such as Los Angeles and Phoenix, and 30 tribal nations. Nearly 6m acres of ranch and farmland.

north grand canyon Arizona It boasts one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the region and is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The canyon connects the upper and lower reaches of the Colorado River and is surrounded by two massive dams, which form Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the largest reservoirs in the United States.

More than a dozen tribes and pueblos hold the Grand Canyon sacred and have long acted as custodians of it, despite damming, development and pollution by the US government dating back to the first settlers.

The climate crisis led to protracted Drought across river basins Declining snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, along with chronic overuse, has left reservoir levels at historically low levels.

As a result, river managers have monitored changes in water supply and flow along rivers to protect dams and other infrastructure. According to the report, restricting the flow of water contributes to severe erosion of beaches within the canyon, threatening native fish and wildlife that play an important role in food security, indigenous cultures and recreational industries. It affects essential habitats.

New mines threaten the future of Alaska’s Chilkat and Klehini rivers. This river is relied upon by indigenous villagers for food security and tribal culture. Photo: Katie Neustater/Courtesy of American Rivers

Despite much-needed rest after above-average rainfall and winter snowfall, the Biden administration is about to announce drastic cuts to the Colorado River’s water allotment.

“The Colorado River is unhealthy. We look forward to listening and working with the tribes to address these challenges on how the agency manages and protects the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon,” Hopi said. said Jacob Maase of

Last year, the entire Colorado River was ranked as America’s most endangered waterway, making the list for the 12th time since 1991. The river has been so overused since his mid-1900s that it has dried up in Mexico, leaving the indigenous Cucapa River. – Or river people – no water.

In the Midwest, the Norfolk Southern Railroad derailment and chemical burns in East Palestine caused a massive leak of dangerous butyl acrylate. Ohio Already an overly polluted basin, the river is used for drinking by 5 million people. The report tells Congress to designate the Ohio River as a federal protection system, upgrade monitoring equipment, and degrade water contaminated with traditional industrial chemicals such as mercury and dioxins, as well as new toxins such as PFAS and Gen-X. We are asking for funding to clean up the waterways. Chemicals and acid mine effluents.

“The economic future of communities along the Ohio River is highly dependent on the protection and restoration of water systems,” said Ben Hankler of the Ohio River Valley Institute.

Meanwhile, new mines threaten the future of the planet. Chilkat Alaska’s Klehini River is a pristine environment where indigenous villagers rely on for food security and tribal culture. Okefenokee Swamp It borders Georgia and Florida. In both cases, fish and wildlife habitats, water quality and climate-buffered wetlands face imminent and irreversible danger if mining operations are allowed.

“The rich nature of these lands and waters has allowed our people to not only survive but thrive for generations. Hard rock mining endangers the Chilkat River ecosystem. Exposure would have devastating effects on tribal peoples who depend on the Chilkat River and Chilkat Valley as a sustainable food source.

“This report is a wake-up call. It is a national call to action to protect these rivers and all the life they support,” said Tom Keenan, president of American Rivers. “When the river gets sick, people suffer.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/apr/17/colorado-river-grand-canyon-climate-crisis-endangered The Colorado River meanders through the Grand Canyon, America’s most endangered waterway – Report | US News

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