Threats to Flathead River and Glacier National Park Recognized

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   April 7, 2009
Contact:   Kathleen O'Neil, Associate Director, Media Relations 202.419.3717


Threats to Flathead River and Glacier National Park Recognized

The North Fork of the Flathead River has been placed at number five on American Rivers’ “America’s Most Endangered Rivers: 2009 Edition” list due to mining threats in its Canadian headwaters.

The North Fork of the Flathead is protected in the United States, where it has been named a Wild and Scenic River. But it lacks those safeguards upstream. The British Columbian land use plan for the watershed encourages mining and energy extraction, and three large energy projects, including a mountaintop-removal coal mine and a coalbed methane project, threaten to degrade the river.

Downstream from the proposed development sites, the river forms the western boundary of Glacier National Park and provides valuable habitat for some rare and threatened species. Recognizing the risks posed to these resources, the National Parks Conservation Association and other conservation groups nominated the river to be included on the American Rivers list.

“Countries may recognize borders, but rivers don’t, and pollution doesn’t stop at the border,” said Will Hammerquist, NPCA Northern Rockies Region program manager. “Strip mining and coalbed methane development in Canada will harm Glacier National Park, the Flathead River, and Flathead Lake.”

To see American Rivers’ “America’s Most Endangered Rivers” list and read the report, visit http://www.americanrivers.org

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