No endangered rivers in Tennessee

As regular readers of this blog know, I focus on various lists to see how Tennessee gets ranked in various categories–many of them not so favorably, alas. Today, however, I am happy to report that when American Rivers, an advocacy group for clean water, released its 2007 list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers, no Tennessee waterway was on that list.

This is good news. The last time a Tennessee river appeared on the list was 2004, when the Tennessee River was listed as the fourth most endangered river in the country. The report from that year gave some interesting facts about the river that shares its names with the state:

“The Tennessee River watershed is one of the most biologically diverse river systems in North America. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the Tennessee River and its tributaries are home to 125 species of freshwater mussels, 96 species of snails, and an astonishing 319 species of fish — including the legendary snail darter.”

The photo below is of the Holston River flowing past my grandparent’s farm in Kingsport



3 Responses to No endangered rivers in Tennessee

  1. Rachael says:

    Yes, we are encouraged that Tennessee was left off the list for most endangered rivers in the US. However, don’t get too jubilant. Nominations for endangered rivers are taken from the public by American Rivers. As you say, they have mentioned Tennessee streams/rivers in the past, including Roan Creek in NE TN most recently. How they get rated, I don’t know. However, there are many endangered water bodies in the US, and in Tennessee. Just because we got off the hook this year doesn’t mean that our rivers are not endangered. Some are dangerous places, such as the Little Pigeon in Sevier County, where people are warned to have no human contact with the river, in the heart of our tourist area. Endangered often means just that….that it is threatened to become much worse if action isn’t taken now. Many rivers in Tennessee need remedial work just to be supportive of any kind of life. Check out the stats on Mad Branch and Reedy Creek in Kingsport, if you think we are now out of the woods.

  2. tennesseeguy says:

    You are right. Tennessee is not out of the woods, so to speak, on clean water yet. I am aware of the problems of the Little Pigeon River. It is good, however, to not be among the worse rivers in the country.

    When I was a Scout, we had a canoe race down the Holston River from Boone Dam to Surgoinsville–right through the industrial stretch of Kingsport. The chemicals in the water at that time were terrible, and the race was canceled after two years.

  3. Rob Perks says:

    Nice blog! So glad you posted on the America’s Most Endangered Rivers report. As someone heavily involved in this report, I’d just like to clarify that being listed as an “endagered” doesn’t necessarily mean that the river is most polluted, dead or a lost cause. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. Many of the rivers in this and previous years’ reports are spectacular — but they are at risk from some harmful activity (a dam, a mine, sprawl, etc.) and the time is right to engage the public in the fight to save them by persuading public officials (in most cases) to make the right choice for the river.

    As we say, healthy rivers are a community’s most valuable asset. As the river goes, so goes the community through which it flows. Being listed as one of the most endangered is a rallying cry for the rivers at risk, and the report itself has raised the profile of the plight of rivers — and helped lead to many victories.

    I would encourage the river lovers of Tennessee to consider nominating rivers in Tennessee for next year’s list, so as to shine a spotlight on the need to protect the state’s cherished waterways.

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