American Rivers Places Iowa Rivers on Endangered Rivers List

Via Flickr

Maxwell Bernstein | April 14, 2021

American Rivers, a D.C. environmental advocacy nonprofit, ranked the Racoon River ninth on their Most Endangered Rivers list, according to the Des Moines Register. The Racoon River runs from northwest Iowa to Des Moines and provides drinking water for 500,000 Des Moines metro residents. The river was placed on this list due to about 750 animal feeding operations in the watershed that contribute to animal manure runoff.

Second on the list is the Missouri River, which runs along Iowa’s western border. The Missouri River is on the list due to poor management, which raises the risk of extreme flooding for communities and residents that live next to the river.

Despite Iowa lawmakers investing $282 million in water quality initiatives over 12 years, researchers from the University of Iowa found that nitrogen levels from Iowa continued increasing over the past two decades.

Missouri River ranked 4th on “most endangered” list

Flooding from the Missouri River along the Iowa – Nebraska border. Photo by OmahaUSACE, Flickr.

According to American Rivers, an environmental conservation group, the Missouri River is number four on a new list of the country’s most endangered waterways. The group said the Missouri suffers from outdated flood management, as evidenced by the 2011 floods.

Eileen Fretz, spokeswoman for the group, said that after last year’s flooding, management of the Missouri needs to take a new direction.

“Just relying on dams and levees hasn’t been enough to protect us and we need to acknowledge that flooding happens and we need to accommodate for a little bit of that,” Fretz says. “We think that flood plain restoration can help us meet those needs.”

Fretz advises Iowans and Nebraskans to take action by visiting the group’s website,

For more information, read the full article at Radio Iowa.