Popular local river named one of the country’s most endangered

PITTSBURGH — Popular for fishing, swimming and whitewater rapids, the Lower Youghiongheny River was named as the 10th most endangered river in the country according to American Rivers.

American Rivers is a national organization that works “to protect wild rivers, restore damaged rivers and conserve clean water.”

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The organization said fracking along the path of the river threatens clean water used for drinking and recreation. “The Lower Youghiogheny is being overrun by natural gas development, including fracking wells, tanks, pipelines, freshwater pump operations - and a new power plant may soon get the green light.”

Known as the “Yough” by many people in southwestern Pennsylvania, the river flows 134 miles through Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania before joining the Monongahela River near McKeesport. According to the “Hand book of tribal names of Pennsylvania," Youghiogheny is Algonquin for “a stream flowing in a contrary direction" which is an ode to the river flowing north.

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American Rivers says protecting the river rests with Gov. Tom Wolf. “Unless Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania demands a thorough, landscape-scale assessment of potential impacts to this treasured river, the health and welfare of Western Pennsylvania’s residents and visitors could suffer serious harm.”

Here is a map showing the course of the Youghiogheny River:

The other rivers on the list include the Upper Mississippi River, Lower Missouri River, Big Sunflower River, Puyallup River, South Fork Salmon River, Menominee River, Rapid Creek, Okefenokee Swamp & St. Marys River and the Ocklawaha River.