A proposal to drain three hundred square miles of wetlands and scour more than one hundred miles of river bottom has landed Mississippi’s Big Sunflower River at the top of the 2003 America’s Most Endangered Rivers list, released April 10 at a series of press conferences across the country. Two rivers facing severe water shortages, the Klamath River in the Pacific Northwest and the Ipswich River in Massachusetts, rounded out the top three.

The annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers list highlights rivers facing the most acute peril rather than the worst chronic problems. It is not a list of the nation’s most polluted rivers. Many rivers are on this year’s list because of severe water shortages, which have been inflamed to crisis proportions by widespread drought.

“America’s seemingly insatiable demand for fresh water is nearing nature’s limits,” said Rebecca R. Wodder, president of American Rivers. “Lack of rain is only part of the story behind falling water levels in rivers coast-to-coast.”

See the whole report at www.AmericanRivers.org.