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San Joaquin River Named Second Most Endangered River In America

Ezra David Romero
The San Joaquin River flows through the center of the Central Calfiornia community of Firebaugh.

A new listing of America’s “Most Endangered Rivers” released Tuesday ranks a Central Valley waterway near the top of the list. 

The environmental group American Rivers says the San Joaquin River Basin is the nation’s second most endangered river.  It trails only the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin in Georgia, Alabama and Florida. The group’s John Cain says four years of drought has taken its toll on the San Joaquin.

CAIN: “It’s made existing problems worse and caused a lot hardship for communities, farmers and the water managers trying to meet the needs of the various interests.”

Cain says the river made it onto the list for multiple reasons including a lack of public access, water diversions and threats to fish species.

CAIN: “We need to better balance the amount of water that’s taken out for agricultural and other purposes with the amount of water that’s left for fish and wildlife.”

Cain says his organization hopes the California State Water Resources Control Board moves forward with a water quality control plan for the river, that includes a significant increase in water flows from reservoirs upstream.  

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