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Calif. rivers most endangered in U.S.

April 7, 2009 9:33:55 AM PDT
California's two longest rivers are considered the nation's most endangered waterways. The conservation group American Rivers says the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers in the central valley are both at risk.The environmental group says the rivers and their eco systems are in danger because state and federal officials have done a poor job of water management and flood control planning.

"The outdated flood management system is no longer adequate to protect the hundreds of thousands of people who live behind levees in the delta and the central valley," said Steve Rothert, spokesman for American Rivers.

"And the water supply system is also outdated, such that it can no longer provide the water supply security for the 23 million Californians who depend on the water," Rothert continued.

He says the health of the Sacramento delta depends on maintaining the health of the two rivers that feed it.

Jerry Johns, deputy director at the state's Department of Water Resources, says the report fails to consider work that's being done to restore the health of the delta and its two chief tributaries. Johns says his department is working with a number of interested groups to develop a long range plan to conserve animal habitats in the flood plains and to shore up the existing infrastructure.

The nonprofit American Rivers issues its report on the nation's waterways annually.


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