Two men fish near a spillway off the Flint River near the Georgia Power dam Wednesday. A non-profit environmental group, American Rivers, has named the Flint as the second most endangered river in the U.S.
ALBANY, Ga. -- For the second time in four years, the Flint River is among the nation's most endangered rivers, according to a report out by a leading river conservation group.
American Rivers listed the Flint River as the second most endangered river in the United States behind only the Colorado River.
TOP FIVE MOST ENDANGERED RIVERS:
- Colorado River
- Flint River
- San Saba River (Texas)
- Little Plover River (Wisconsin)
- Catawba River (Carolinas)
The report lists increased urbanization and demand for water in the upper Flint basin and increased demand from farmers in the lower Flint basin among the biggest threats to the river's future.
"In the lower Flint basin, the over-permitting and over-pumping of the Floridan Aquifer-- and the drying-up of major streams in the Flint watershed as a consequence-- presents a difficult water management balancing act that rivals challenges on the Great Plains and in California," the report states.
"The upper Flint presents challenges that more and more communities will face wherever urbanization, drought, and water demand strain limited surface water resources. Throughout the Flint basin, proactive and collaborative work to address these water quantity challenges is critical to ensuring the sustainability of communities and the river ecosystem."
Gordon Rogers, executive director of the Flint RiverKeepers, a group dedicated to promoting a healthy river, said the report saddens him and his organization.
"We are saddened to see the Flint listed as America's No. 2 most endangered river for the second time in the early part of this century," Rogers said. "It is time for our leaders to offer real solutions versus the wastes of taxpayer dollars and takings of property and property rights that they have proposed up until now. New reservoirs that condemn folks' property, and boondoggle aquifer storage and recovery projects managed by former state employees, are not a way forward."
Rogers offered a two-pronged approach to move river conservation forward.
"The way forward is to do two things: one, make sure that all interested parties are involved in detailed solutions such as farmers, utility managers, industry, fisherfolk, paddlers and property owners; and two, revise the Flint River Drought Protection Act to address the entire Flint River watershed, all tributaries, all permit types, holding the State accountable for maintaining minimum flows during periods of less rainfall."
According to the report, the flow rates in the lower portion of the river have decreased by more than 40 percent since 1975.