Mobile and Coosa Rivers placed on annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers list

Coosa Moccasin Gap. (American Rivers/Abraham Odrezin)

Two rivers in Alabama made a top ten list — and it is not a good one.

Mobile River and Coosa River were placed on American Rivers’ annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®. Other than California and Arizona, Alabama is the only state to have two or more rivers crack the annual national top ten list.

In its 37th year, the America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign shines a national spotlight on rivers at risk, elevates local advocacy efforts and mobilizes the public to make a positive difference. Over the years, the report has helped spur successes including the removal of outdated dams, the protection of rivers with Wild and Scenic designations and the prevention of harmful development and pollution.

“All life on this planet depends on clean, flowing rivers, so when rivers are at risk we must sound the alarm. America’s Most Endangered Rivers highlights the threats of climate change and injustice and is a call for bold, urgent action,” said Tom Kiernan, President of American Rivers. 

The Rankings 

Ben Raines
(Ben Raines/American Rivers)

Mobile River was named the 3rd most threatened river in North America by American Rivers. The group cited coal ash pollution from Alabama Power’s Barry Steam Plant as the culprit. 

The Coosa River came in 5th on the most threatened list. In its report, American Rivers identified industrial agricultural pollution as the reason for the high ranking. 

“It is certainly bittersweet,” Coosa Riverkeeper Executive Director Justinn Overton told The Bama Buzz about the Coosa’s top ten ranking.

“I am grateful we’re able to get national attention and to create this action alert around the impact of nutrient pollution from industrial agriculture farms. The Coosa is certainly not alone in the impact of nutrient pollution.”

Focused on Solutions

(Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman/American Rivers)

Overton listed actions her organization is taking to address water pollution in the Coosa.

  1. Cyanobacteria Monitoring Program – The Riverkeeper, in partnership with the Wilson Lab at Auburn University, has started a monitoring program to address the concerns surrounding harmful algal blooms as a result of nutrient pollution.
  2. Outreach – Widening their outreach and partnering with non traditional organizations is a priority. 
  3. Expanding the Swim Guide Program – Adding six new sites in 2022 to a grand total of 50 sites throughout the watershed. Extending the program to 17 weeks beginning Memorial Day to the Fall.

The National Report

This is not the first time both rivers have been included in the America’s Most Endangered Rivers list. Coosa River first appeared on the list in 2010. Both the Mobile River and Coosa River were included in the 2017 edition of the annual report when the entire Mobile Bay River Basin was spotlighted.

Check out the entire 2022 Report — HERE.

What do you think of the America’s Most Endangered Rivers list? Did they get it right? Tell us on social media and don’t forget to tag us at @thebamabuzz.

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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