This week the river conservation organization American Rivers released its annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers list, a report highlighting "ten rivers facing urgent threats, and (that) encourages decision-makers to do the right thing for the rivers and communities they support." In the Mississippi River Basin, the Smith River (in Montana), Holston and Harpeth rivers (both in Tennessee) were highlighted among the top-ten threatened rivers. The Colorado River once again topped the organization's list.
The Smith River flows 60 miles in Montana before joining the Missouri River just south of Great Falls. The River was listed as endangered by American Rivers because of a Tintina Resources Inc. copper mine along Sheep Creek, a major Smith River headwater tributary. For the 2015 list, American Rivers choose rivers facing key decisions over the next 12 months. The Smith River Basin copper mine proposal is expected to be filed with the state sometime in late 2015. Should the mine be opened, American Rivers predicts that the River's wild trout fishery would be subject to "acid mine drainage, contamination with toxic heavy metals, and nutrient pollution."