Saturday, April 19, 2008

Global warming threatens the South, from the rivers to the seas

Facing South: While President Bush serves up a too-little, too-late plan for addressing climate change, the South faces growing water problems as a consequence of global warming. Water mismanagement and ill-advised projects are threatening rivers across the South -- and those risks are being exacerbated by climate change. That's the conclusion of the latest annual report on the United States' most endangered rivers, released this week by the conservation group American Rivers.

"Water will be the oil of the 21st century," said the group's president, Rebecca Wodder. "Yet all across the country, water mismanagement is on full display as politicians resort to placing another straw in their rivers, or outright stealing water from their neighbors, instead of adopting water policies that will make our communities more resilient in the face of global warming."

Of the nation's 10 most endangered rivers, three are in the South -- including the number-one most endangered river, the Catawba-Wateree in the Carolinas. While the surrounding region is still suffering the effects of a long-standing drought, policy makers are actually considering draining more water from the river. The other Southern waterways that made the list are Florida's St. Johns River at number 6, and the Pearl River in Louisiana and Mississippi at number 9....

Upper Creek Falls on the Upper Creek of the Catawba River watershed, shot by Ken Thomas, Wikimedia Commons.

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