Snake River Tops the List of American Rivers in Danger

The Snake River flowing through Idaho, Washington, and Idaho has topped the annual list of endangered U.S. rivers. The annual list has featured Snake River 12 times, with 2021 its first year in the number one spot. The river has a long history of salmon fishing that once made it an integral part of the Pacific Northwest culture. Four dams have been built along the river, turning it from a salmon run to four stagnant reservoirs. In response to the state of the river, Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho tabled a $33 billion plan to clean up the waterway.

The American Rivers group has been producing its annual report for 36 years, with Snake River featuring in the top 10 list 12 times. Snake River has played a vital role in the success of the Pacific Northwest since before the arrival of European settlers. Local Native American tribes have fished the Snake River and used it as a line of communication for centuries until four dams were installed. The four dams have changed the face of the waterway and limited the number of salmon moving upstream each year.

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