The advocacy group American Rivers just issued their annual “America’s Most Endangered Rivers” report. The Susquehanna River in New York – Pennsylvania – Maryland makes the list this year because of concern over the unfolding boom in natural-gas drilling throughout the watershed, particularly drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shales that requires heavy-duty fracking and significant local water use — for example, a proposal to pull 250,000 gallons per day from Oquaga Creek, a small trout stream in upstate New York where my stepfather has fished many times. Stream and wetlands alteration (legal and otherwise) and poorly controlled stormwater runoff are two other, less publicized concerns that we’re investigating here at SkyTruth.
The rivers and tributaries of Bristol Bay, Alaska also make the list. The proposed Pebble copper/gold mine would directly destroy some of the headwaters, and would pose a potential threat of contamination if there were any problems with the massive tailings impoundments the mine would create. See our before and after maps of the Pebble plan, and just for grins, the same plan superimposed on Seattle for scale (Poof! 10,000 Starbucks disappear!).