Pop Quiz: Threats to Rivers

Rivers support more than 100,000 freshwater species and provide resources crucial for our very survival. Which of these is NOT one of the major threats to rivers?

Rivers of meltwaters flowing from a glacier in Sirmilik National Park

© Andrew S. Wright/WWF-Canada

Nope—the correct answer is fish migration.

Rivers have sustained civilizations throughout history, from Egypt's Nile to China's Yangtze. They're not just bodies of water; they are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the planet, supporting more than 100,000 freshwater species and providing resources crucial for our very survival including food, and clean water.

Sadly, rivers—even the mightiest ones—are under serious threat. They’re affected by droughts, infrastructure like dams, pollution, increases in extraction, and overfishing. And increasingly, the climate crisis is challenging landscapes, people, and wildlife through its impacts on water.

When we lose connected rivers, we also lose the benefits they provide to people and nature. To stop or remedy the damage we have caused, we must take action in places where these rivers are most at risk.

Check out WWF’s four-pillar approach—Plan, Protect, Restore, and Promote Resilience—to address the crisis.