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Upper Mississippi Tops Endangered List

American Rivers
Credit American Rivers

Thanks to climate change, the upper Mississippi River is number one on the list of endangered rivers in the US. That's according to this year's list of the most endangered waterways by the conservation organization, American Rivers.

Spokeswoman Olivia Dorothy, from East Moline, says there's no floodplain or watershed management plan for the river, from the Twin Cities to Cairo, Illinois. 

"Our response to flooding right now is pretty much everyone for themselves. So each individual person along the river is pretty much responsible for protecting their property, and then each city, county, levee district, and each state - they are responsible for their own actions during a flood fight."

Credit American Rivers
downtown Davenport, spring 2019

And these temporary, local strategies are no match for more extreme, and longer-lasting floods. 

Dorothy says local, state, and federal governments have to join forces, and come up with plans that "link upstream acts with downstream consequences."

"To flood safety and predictably in a way that does not increase risk for the people that are living along the river." 

American Rivers has been releasing a list of the most endangered waterways for 36 years now, and Dorothy says it's been successful in protecting rivers from pollution and harmful development. 

Number two on this year's endangered list is the lower Missouri River for the same reasons - the inadequate response to increasingly severe flooding. 

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.