Inducted in 2011
Rachel Carson may be responsible more than any other person for saving the eagles, fish, and other wildlife which live in and along the rivers of America. Carson was born near the Allegheny River in rural Pennsylvania in 1907 and spent much of her time exploring nearby forests and streams. As early as 1945, she became alarmed by government allowance and abuse of new chemical pesticides such as DDT. Her best known book, Silent Spring, serialized in the New Yorker in 1962, became a worldwide sensation, including a moving chapter entitled "Rivers of Death."
Carson was not opposed to the use of poisonous chemical sprays--only their “indiscriminate use.” She documented that the spraying of a river valley in 1954 to control insects not only killed many of the birds, but killed the entire 1954 hatch of migrating salmon, five-sixths of the 1953 hatch, and one-third of the 1952 hatch. In April, 1964, the month of her premature death, it was discovered that the huge-scale death of fish on the lower Mississippi River could be traced to toxic ingredients in three pesticides. In the 1960s, she organized a bald eagle count along the Mississippi River that turned up only 59 individuals. Since the banning of DDT in 1972, due to Carson and others, the number of nesting pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states had grown from 417 to more than 9,700.
Rachel Carson did more to save the wildlife of the rivers of American than perhaps any other person in history. She is considered the founder of the modern environmental movement, many regard Silent Spring as the most influential book of the past fifty years, and Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.