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Report: Missouri River Among 10 “Most Endangered” In U.S.

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5/15/12-Caroline Pufalt with the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club speaks during a press conference at St. Louis City Hall Tuesday in response to a national study that names the Missouri River the fourth "Most Endangered" river in America. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

5/15/12-Caroline Pufalt with the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club speaks during a press conference at St. Louis City Hall Tuesday in response to a national study that names the Missouri River the fourth “Most Endangered” river in America. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –  Local environmentalists says they’re saddened, but hardly surprised, to find the Missouri River on a new list of the Top 10 “Most Endangered” rivers in America.

“We have dumped our nation’s waste into our most precious resource,” said Patricia Schuba, president of the Labadie Environmental Organization (LEO), during a press conference at St. Louis City Hall after the list was released by the group American Rivers. “We then falsely assume we can levee and berm these dynamic floodplains from the river. In the process, more than fifty percent of wetlands have been lost or destroyed nationwide in the past century.”

According to the American Rivers report (which can be found at www.americanrivers.org) “the wide Missouri, with extensive floodplains and shallow areas, has been harnessed into a series of massive reservoirs on the upper river and a narrow, deep channel on the lower river. The channelization has actually made flood damages worse, putting communities at higher risk. Clean water, wildlife, recreation, and river health have also suffered heavy costs”.

“Last year’s flood clearly demonstrated the serious shortcomings of the reservoir, dam and levee system in reducing flood risk,” suggested Caroline Pufalt with the Sierra Club-Missouri chapter.

According to the American Rivers study, the Missouri River ranks #4 on the “Most Endangered” list, trailing only the Chattahoochee, the Green, and at number one, the Potomac River.

“Channelization has actually made flood damages worse, putting communities (along the Mo. River) at higher risk,” according to the study. “Clean water, wildlife, recreation and river health have also suffered heavy costs.”

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