The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has recently released a list that shows the Top Ten Most Endangered Places for the year 2011, ranging from the Southern Appalachians to the South Atlantic. These places are in danger of potentially obtaining irreversible threats should projects in 2011 continue.
This does not include the coal-mining project that will occur in a couple of months in the Appalachian Mountains.
The majority of the places that are in danger can still be saved as long as certain construction projects are stopped.
- Alabama’s Coast – Months after the BP blow out the Alabama Coast has yet to recover and there is a current effort to try and prevent another event like BP blow out from repeating itself
- Georgia’s Cypress Forests – The Georgia wetland is in danger because timber companies have been using the trees from these wetlands which are not only home to endangered species but the trees also help in storing floodwaters.
- Oconee River, GA – There has been a proposal from a coal-power plant 30 miles away from the Oconee River for permission to siphon an average of 13.5 million gallons of water a day From the river. This is dangerous due to the river’s tendencies to have a dangerously low water-level during droughts, l affect the aquatic wildlife.
- Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, NC – This refuge is highly regarded for the different types of birds and other species that inhabit Pea Island. While a new bridge has been needed for a long time, the construction of a new bridge creates a threat to the water-level and damage to the terrain of this island. A prolonged construction time can also be detrimental to the animals’ inhabiting this refuge.
- Snowbird Mountains, NC –A highway that has just been approved to be expanded would require a large amount of drilling under the Snowbird Mountains, adding the equivalent of four lanes of asphalt into the Nantahala National Forest.
- Cape Fear Basin, NC – There is a proposed cement plant that is to be built in North Carolina. The plant poses a threat of emitting pollutants such as benzene, lead, and hydrochloric acid, along with increasing the levels of mercury, into the northeast part of the Cape Fear River.
- Santee River Basin, SC – There was a series of hydroelectric dams that were done in 1942 that caused a large amount of damage to the environment by adjusting the habitats of certain migratory fish. This originally caused a dramatic decrease in the number of fish in the river. To continue the use of these dams would mean that there would have to be another half-century of environmental degradation.
- Cumberland Plateau, TN – Mining practices for coal in other states has caused great damage to the mountain terrain. Tennessee is trying to avoid the same thing from happening to the Cumberland that is usually used for recreational purposes.
- George Washington National Forest, VA – Natural gas extraction practices may be the cause for pollution of the water supply in the George Washington National Forest which is the Southeast’s large public forest. The Forest Service will soon decide if a portion of the forest will be used for oil and gas drilling.
- The Chesapeake Bay – Due to overfishing, pollution, and other factors, the EPA has decided to step in and help states get this once-lively bay back into shape. There has been a dramatic decrease in the amount of blue crabs and other species. The SELC will be helping in the remediation of this area.