Environmental Group Labels Two Iowa Rivers 'Endangered'

Apr 16, 2021  | 2 min  | Ep4635

This week, several waterways were found in the crosshairs of the environmental advocacy non-profit American Rivers.  Since the mid-1980’s, the Washington D.C.- based group has compiled an annual list of the top ten most endangered rivers in the nation.

Tom Kiernan/President and CEO – American Rivers: “These have been a tough 12 months.  We’re dealing with a pandemic.  We’re dealing with an economic downturn.  We’re dealing with an important national conversation around inequity and injustice.  And I hope that through these challenging times, rivers near you, perhaps rivers you grew up on, have given you a sense of support.”

While the Pacific Northwest’s Snake River topped the list of impacted riparian communities, drinking water sources, and fish and wildlife habitat - the Lower Missouri River, which makes up the majority of Iowa’s western border, was the report’s second most endangered river.

American Rivers cited the ongoing risk of extreme flooding due to poor infrastructure management as the deciding factor.  Towns, farmers and landowners were plagued with $3 billion in flood damage along the corridor in 2019.

Sec. Mike Naig/Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship:  “That so called report was a bit of propaganda, I think.”

The Lower Missouri River designation, as well the group’s first-ever placement of Iowa’s Raccoon River on the list, at 9th, due to runoff from livestock operations and farm fields, drew the ire of the Hawkeye State’s Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, who says conservation efforts like cover crops, wetlands and bio-reactors have been accelerating.

Sec. Mike Naig/Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship:  “The way that those types of reports come out, with no basis… They were nominated by an activist group here in Iowa.  It’s a fundraising plea for this organization.  Again, they can do that.  I’m not saying they can’t.  But if you want to talk facts, you have to ignore a lot of evidence that says we are moving in the right direction, that work is getting done every day on the ground.”

For Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner. @mtmjosh

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