Where Are the Most Endangered Rivers in the U.S.?


These rivers face a number of threats, from dams to pollution—and a possible reduction in conservation funding. (Nat Geo News)

Learn a little more about the most endangered river in the U.S.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources, including today’s MapMaker Interactive map.

Where are the most endangered rivers? Where are their sources? Where are their mouths? Zoom in to chart their course.

Discussion Ideas


  • Have your students take a look at one of the endangered rivers. Can they identify the stakeholders?
    • What people, organizations, or communities benefit from the river? How?
      • indigenous species, including endangered species?
      • businesses that support recreation around the river, such as boat rentals, hotels, or restaurants?
      • residents who rely on clean water for health and hygiene?
        • are these residents worried that the ‘threats’ would impact the sanitation of their water?
    • What people, organizations, and communities benefit from the “threats” to the river? How?
      • residents who rely on jobs from industry?
      • businesses that support new industries, such as construction?
      • residents who rely on clean water and energy for health and hygiene?
        • are these residents worried about the supply of freshwater and energy if facilities for water storage or hydroelectricity are not built?


  • Can your students suggest solutions or compromises between the stakeholders in these rivers?



Nat Geo: Top 10 Most Endangered Rivers in the U.S.

Nat Geo: Most Endangered River in the U.S.: The Colorado study guide

Nat Geo: Where are America’s Most Endangered Rivers? map

American Rivers: America’s Most Endangered Rivers for 2017

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