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Group Names Upper Mississippi Third Most Endangered River

The environmental group American Rivers released a list of the 10 “most endangered” rivers of 2019 that named the Upper Mississippi as the third most endangered.

American Rivers blames flood-control levees for the threat to the Upper Mississippi. In its press release, the group said, “[T]his iconic river is threatened by illegal raises to the levee system that cut the river off from more than 170,000 acres of floodplain, increasing flood risk for communities and degrading vital fish and wildlife habitat. In order to safeguard communities and restore river health, state and federal agencies must enforce laws that prohibit reckless raising of levees and prioritize use of natural and nature-based flood protection solutions.”

Of the group’s list of 10 rivers, only three, the Hudson (listed at No. 2), Mississippi, and lower reaches of the Willamette (No. 5), carry commercial barge traffic.

The Upper Mississippi has been mostly closed to barge traffic above St. Louis because of higher-than-normal flooding attributed to winter snows that left twice the usual amount of snowpack, combined with heavy storm-driven spring rains.

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