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AL nonprofit urges Medicaid expansion to save rural hospitals; Harris skipping Netanyahu address shows daylight with Biden on Israeli leader; Biden to give first speech since dropping out of race; IN students face stricter attendance rules, new reading requirements; New Missouri law ensures medication access.

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Kamala Harris builds momentum toward nomination and vets potential Veeps. She and Trump take aggressive stances, as plans for a September debate continue. Sen. Bob Menendez says he'll resign, but will also appeal his corruption conviction.

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There's a gap between how rural and urban folks feel about the economy, Colorado's 'Rural is Rad' aims to connect outdoor businesses, more than a dozen of Maine's infrastructure sites face repeated flooding, and chocolate chip cookies rock August.

Middle TN's Duck River on list of 'nation's most endangered' waterways

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Tuesday, June 4, 2024   

The Duck River, which flows through seven Middle Tennessee counties, has made a national list of "most endangered" rivers.

The group American Rivers compiles the list annually and said escalating development and multiple uses are stretching the Duck River's water supply.

Grace Stranch, CEO of Harpeth Conservancy, said the river is home to more than 150 types of fish, 56 mussel species and 22 snail species. She cautioned its ecosystem is at a tipping point, prompted by population and industry growth.

"Ecologically on the river, when we look, we're already seeing mussel strandings. And that means that there's not enough water, and mussels have to have water. And so, they're being what we say is 'stranded,' so they don't have the water to survive," Stranch outlined. "We're already seeing this at the current levels."

Stranch's group has made a three-part recommendation to Gov. Bill Lee. It's asking to form an expert stakeholder group to assess water studies for the river, create a comprehensive, long-term water use plan, and allocate enough funding based on scientific data to ensure the river's protection.

Stranch pointed out the Duck River is a drinking water source for nearly 250,000 people in the region. She emphasized the need to choose between conservation and potential collapse in the face of the area's growing water demands.

"You have to provide drinking water for all of these new people. You have to have all these new hookups for these developments," Stranch explained. "That drinking water comes from somewhere. And most people don't realize in Tennessee, the majority of our drinking water, around 60%, comes from river sources in some way, shape or form."

Stranch added her group is especially concerned about the effects of overuse during droughts. She noted the Duck is also the backbone of the local outdoor recreation economy for anglers, boaters and kayakers, with more than 150,000 people using the river and its tributaries for recreation each year.


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