America's 10 most endangered rivers

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America's 10 Most Endangered Rivers

The nation's rivers support many of Earth's creatures, including humans, but some are in danger of no longer being able to do so. American Rivers, an organization that works to protect and restore the nation's rivers, recently released this year's list of the 10 waterways that are at the greatest risk.

While the advocacy group is trying to raise awareness of the implications certain development projects have on the natural landscape, this list is also of interest to travelers, as many of the rivers are top vacation and water recreation spots.

Full list: the 10 most endangered rivers

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America's Most Endangered Rivers
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America's 10 most endangered rivers

1. The Grand Canyon's Colorado River, Arizona

Photo: Joe Klamar via AFP/Getty Images

2. Columbia River, Oregon

Photo via Alamy

3. Holston River, Virginia - Tennessee 

Photo: Graylight/Flickr

4. Smith River, Montana

Photo: nshontz/Flickr

5. Edisto River, South Carolina

Photo: mogollon_1/Flickr

6. Chuitna River, Alaska

Photo: Damion Brook Kintz/AP

7. Smith River, California

Photo: LastGreatRoadTrip/Flickr

8. St. Louis River, Minnesota - Wisconsin

Photo: Jvstin/Flickr

9. Harpeth River, Tennessee

Photo: cmh2315fl/Flickr

10. Pearl River, Mississippi - Louisiana

Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP

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No. 1 on the list is the Colorado River. The section that flows through the Grand Canyon is said to be in particular peril due to a development project and nearby uranium mining. This section of the river is also a popular spot for white-water rafting, and multi-day camping trips through the Grand Canyon.

The second most endangered river is the Pacific Northwest's Columbia River, which American Rivers says is being compromised by an outdated dam system. Third place on the list goes to Tennessee's Holston River, a site that is falling prey to chemical pollution.

Montana's Smith River has been assigned the 4th spot due to excessive copper mining in the area and South Carolina's Edisto River ranks 5th as a result of too much water being withdrawn from it. Next come the Chuitna in Alaska and the Rogue-Smith Rivers that run through California and Oregon, both of which are locations where significant salmon runs occur.

Rounding out the top 10 are Minnesota's St. Louis River, the Harpeth River in Tennessee and the Pearl River in Louisiana. All three of them are said to be facing threats from mining and building efforts currently in either proposal or planning stages.

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