The Stream, April 15, 2021: U.S. Rivers Threatened By Climate Change, Agriculture, Mining, Dams


  • A new report explores the greatest threats to U.S. rivers and the American communities most impacted by endangered rivers.
  • After years with almost no rainfall, Cape Verde politicians are putting the country’s water crisis at the forefront of upcoming parliamentary elections.
  • The Dhanauri wetland in Uttar Pradesh, India, runs dry.
  • A large U.S. poultry company will pay $205 million over groundwater and air pollution from its Delaware chicken processing plant.

The island of St. Vincent is running short on drinking water after a volcanic eruption contaminates supplies.

“The volcano caught us with our pants down, and it’s very devastating. No water, lots of dust in our home. We thank god we are alive, but we need more help at this moment.” – Retired police officer Paul Smart, a resident of St. Vincent. After the eruption of La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island, the Associated Press reports that officials say water supplies are becoming contaminated with heavy ash. As falling ash and pyroclastic flows have contaminated reservoirs, the island’s water and sewer authority Garth Saunders said some communities have not yet received water supplies. Volcanologists say La Soufriere, which experienced the first of several major explosions last Friday, could be active for weeks.


Scientists Concerned About the Bottom of the Food Web in the Great Lakes

Right now, scientists are on a ship taking samples and measurements of the Great Lakes. They’re trying to determine how the lakes will fare this year and watching for trends.

One trend, the warming climate, could mean changes for the base of the food web in the lakes. But, the researchers are not yet sure what those changes might be. 

In Case You Missed It:

California Report Tallies Hundreds of Failing Water Systems in the State – Hundreds more systems are at risk of not being able to meet drinking water standards.

HotSpots H2O: New Research Finds National Reform Vital for Jordan’s Worsening Water Crisis – Nearly all of Jordan’s lower-income populations will suffer from severe water insecurity by the end of the century without immediate and comprehensive national reform, according to a Stanford University study.

Water Shortages Central To Cape Verde Parliamentary Elections

The water crisis on the African island country of Cape Verde has become the central campaign issue for candidates in upcoming parliamentary elections. Al Jazeera reports that the country has gone three years with almost no rainfall, the ruling government is investing in desalination plants and looking for other solutions that don’t rely on unpredictable rain events.



The 101-hectare (249-acre) Dhanauri wetland in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has run dry, the Hindustan Times reports. The wetland, which is an internationally recognized sarus crane sanctuary, has never dried completely, according to officials. District forest department officials said they blame mismanagement and exploitation of the area, along with extreme dry weather, for the wetland’s disappearance.


Family-owned Mountaire Corp., one of the largest U.S. poultry companies, agreed to pay $205 million to settle claims of groundwater and air pollution from its chicken processing plant in Millsboro, Delaware. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the settlement will be split into two pots of money. Residents near the plant who were affected by polluted air and wells contaminated with nitrate will be eligible for $65 million in payments. Mountaire will use the remaining $140 million to upgrade its waste treatment system.


The annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2021 report from the advocacy group American Rivers found that the top threats to America’s most threatened rivers include climate change, dams, factory farming, and mining. This year’s report also highlights environmental injustices against Indigenous, Black and Latino communities that are most affected by endangered rivers. The Snake River, because of four dams that block salmon runs, was named the most endangered.

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