RIVERS IN JEOPARDY


It sounds like an honor, but it's not. This year, the West contains four of the nation's 10 most endangered rivers, chosen annually by American Rivers, a river conservation group. Because of a proposed gold mine near Yellowstone Park in Montana, the group voted the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River the most imperiled; second place went to a river plagued by raw sewage, industrial chemicals and poor urban planning, more often thought of as a movie set for car chases - the Los Angeles River. The Northwest's Columbia and Snake River systems shared third place because of a massive series of dams that continue to hammer salmon runs. Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers, says that the recent federal plan to restore salmon still relies on barging fish around dams, rather than more expensive dam drawdowns which would help flush young salmon out to sea. And fourth is the still free-flowing Animas River, which the Bureau of Reclamation plans to dam near Durango, Colo., under the Animas-La Plata water project. Says American Rivers staffer Pamela Hyde, "The dam is an uneconomical and unfeasible project, and we need people to tell our government that we don't want our money wasted." The 55-page North America's Most Endangered and Threatened Rivers of 1995 is available for $10 through American Rivers, 801 Pennsylvania Ave, S.E., Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20003, (202/547-6900).