Colorado River Update! More Good News — YOUR Voice Mattered!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

We have more good news!  Yes, the river is in decline and huge challenges are ahead, but people are stepping forward to make a difference!

First, YOUR VOICE MATTERED in Los Angeles!!  Recall a few months ago when we ran — and you signed! — the petition to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power requesting that they increase their water conservation and efficiency programs? Well, it

Gary Wockner, Marcie Edwards, Liz Crosson, and  Connor Everts

Gary Wockner, Marcie Edwards, Liz Crosson, and Conner Everts

worked and they did!  Four weeks ago, I met with Marcie Edwards who is the new General Manager of the LADWP. I was joined in that meeting by Liz Crosson of Los Angeles Waterkeeper and Conner Everts of the Southern California Watershed Alliance. We all had a great discussion about LA’s water supply and conservation work, especially in the context of this historic California drought. Ms. Edwards assured us that LA was trying hard to move forward and change its paradigm. Liz Crosson wrote a nice blog about our meeting, posted here.

Two weeks later with Ms. Edwards by his side, the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, announced what his team called a “sweeping executive order on water conservation” intended to take strong steps to address the drought. You can read the initial coverage on LA’s CBS news station affiliate here. Even further, Mayor Garcetti’s plan proposes to reduce

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

the amount of water the city imports by 50% in 10 years.  Yes, that’s quite a goal, given that LA imports most of its water from northern California and the Colorado River — in this editorial in the LA Times, the Ed Board even called it an “ambitious goal.” We applaud Mayor Garcetti, GM Marcie Edwards, and their team for making this announcement and for planning to reduce imported water. We also continue to support the development of local water supplies in the Los Angeles area including recycled storm and wastewater, and groundwater cleanup. In addition, we will work with our local environmental colleagues in the Los Angeles area to help make sure the Mayor’s words turn into deeds that can set an example for how all cities in the Colorado River basin can move forward with much more efficient use of water.

Second, we are delighted to announce the formation of a great new coalition to address the threat of new dams/diversions and dirty energy projects throughout Screenshot (143)the Colorado River basin. Last week, Save The Colorado joined forces with “Colorado River Connected,” a coalition formed especially to fight dirty energy projects in Utah that could take more water out of the Colorado River and pollute water for all of the Colorado River water users downstream. This initial coalition includes Save The Colorado, Glen Canyon Institute, Colorado Riverkeeper, Utah Rivers Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, Sierra Club Utah Chapter, River Network, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, and the Los Angeles Waterkeeper. Much of the threat to the headwaters of the Colorado River in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado is discussed in an excellent new documentary film, “Last Rush For The Wild West.” Created by Jennifer Ekstrom, this film highlights the tar sands threat in Utah, as well as discusses the oil shale and fracking threats in the three states at the headwaters of the Colorado River. Take a look at the trailer for the film here.  Jennifer’s film will serve as the introduction to Colorado River Connected as she tours the Southwest U.S. in the coming months. We will keep you in the loop about where to see the film, and about the dam and dirty energy projects that further threaten the Colorado River.

So, are the challenges huge? Yes. But people are stepping forward to address these challenges up and down the Colorado River basin, and Save The Colorado is working hard to be right in the mix helping to fight bad projects, promote good ideas, and spread the word about the amazing resource of the Colorado River.

Stay tuned for more good news and THANK YOU for your support!

New Coalition Launched to Protect Colorado River Headwaters




New Coalition Launched to Protect Colorado River Headwaters

Epic Drought and Dirty Energy Boom Spotlight Fragility of Water Supply in American Southwest

Media Contacts:
Zach Frankel, Utah Rivers Council: / 8016991856
John Weisheit, Colorado Riverkeeper: / 4352602590
Tim Wagner, Utah Physicians for the Environment: / 8015025450
Dan Mayhew, Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club: / 8017125353
Pete Nichols, Waterkeeper Alliance: / 7078450832
Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado: / 9702188310

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — A coalition of groups from across the West today announced the formation of a new coalition to inform and engage communities in California, Nevada, Arizona, and other western states about threats posed to the Colorado River and their water supply. 

Colorado River Connected ( was formed to protect the headwaters of the Colorado River system for the benefit of the 35 million people and thousands of species and natural communities that rely upon it. Currently, the coalition includes Colorado Riverkeeper, Utah Rivers United, Sierra Club, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Glen Canyon Institute, Save the Colorado, and Waterkeeper Alliance. The coalition is inviting hundreds of watershed and community groups to this effort to protect and stand up for a healthy Colorado River.

The Colorado River originates in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, which is the source of drinking water for millions of people in cities including Las Vegas, Tucson, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego. However, the river is threatened by unprecedented dirty energy development, voracious water diversions, and climate change.

Climate scientists have acknowledged for decades that the Southwest will suffer more than many areas of the U.S. as a changing climate lowers snowpack and Screenshot (140)increases temperatures. In recent years, the Southwest has been gripped by a significant drought, although most residents of California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico are not aware of proposed water diversions upstream that are being pursued alongside an increase in pollution generating energy development from tar sands, fracking, and oil shale.

Colorado River Connected is working to engage and activate residents living in downstream urban areas to raise a collective, basinwide voice to prevent devastating projects that will further drain and pollute the Colorado Basin.

“This drought has shown that residents in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Southern California are likely to be heavily impacted by new water diversions proposed upstream, like Utah’s Lake Powell Pipeline,” said Zach Frankel, Executive Director of the Utah Rivers Council. “That’s enough water for nearly one million people’s use for a year and it’s going to impact everything and everyone downstream,” said Frankel.

Thousands of proposed new oil and gas wells are likely to pollute precious water supplies.

“Whether you’re a San Diego mom, a Tucson water manager, or a Las Vegas doctor, if you’re drinking water from the Colorado River, you better pay attention to what is going on in Utah and Colorado,” said Tim Wagner, Executive Director of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment. “Between an explosion in fracking for gas and oil, and Utah’s love affair with tar sands and oil shale, the Southwest’s water supply is threatened like never before.”

Colorado River Connected aims to bring the citizens of the basin together to speak with a unified voice for communities who rely on Colorado River water, and to push back against states like Utah and Colorado that are only looking at the Colorado River for continued development and dirty energy projects. Colorado River Connected will press for changes in water management and seek policies that acknowledge and address these threats for the good of residents and the Colorado River Watershed.

“Between unparalleled dirty energy development and multiple plans for major water diversions, Utah and the upper basin states are demonstrating total disregard for cities such as Phoenix and Las Vegas that depend on Colorado River water for their survival,” said Dan Mayhew, Chair of the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club. “It’s time downstream users became fully aware of the magnitude of these threats and take action before it’s too late.”

“The issues facing the Colorado River Basin are as vast as the watershed itself,” said Pete Nichols, National Director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “We are excited that Colorado River Connected will be bringing people together from the entire region to heighten awareness and speak with one voice for the river, their communities, and the watershed,” said Nichols.

“Since the dedication of Hoover Dam in 1935, the Colorado River has been the leading model for water governance worldwide. This 80year experiment is about to fail and shortages are eminent because developers continue to plan for water intensive projects without any regard to the watershed’s natural heritage, or the public trust. If concerned citizens don’t unite and turn this pattern of unbridled consumption around, a watershed train wreck will indeed occur,” said John Weisheit, Conservation Director of Living Rivers and Colorado Riverkeeper.


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Colorado River Update — FIVE GOOD NEWS STORIES!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

Yes, there’s good news and bad news, but we thought it would be useful to fill just one of these blogs with only good news, so here we go! FIVE GOOD NEWS STORIES!

First, YOUR VOICE HELPED MAKE A DIFFERENCE in San Diego! Recall back in July, we highlighted San Diego and its Mayor Kevin Faulconer as a “bad actor” who needed to take the drought seriously and pass stronger water conservation rules. Well, Mayor-Kevin-Faulconerthis week the City and the Mayor are in the process of doing just that. The City is moving forward with “Stage 2 Drought Restrictions” and Mayor Faulconer has publicly backed the proposal. In a news conference this week, Mayor Faulconer said, “The vast majority of San Diegans have conserved, and I want to thank them for their efforts, but unfortunately, these other circumstances require us to do even more.” Save The Colorado worked with San Diego Coastkeeper to highlight the City’s need to take the drought seriously and when the Mayor stated his position last week, the Coastkeeper thanked him for his support: “As we enter the fourth year of drought in California, and recognize the likelihood of cutbacks and rationing in Southern California in the near future, we have to plan for long-term changes,” O’Malley said. “With the mayor’s support and continued work by council members David Alvarez and Ed Harris, we can bring San Diego into alignment with water conservation measures practiced throughout the state.” Read the whole story here in the Times of San Diego. Thank you — your voice made a difference!

Second, last week a federal district court upheld the ban on uranium mining in the Grand Canyon! Led by the super eco-fighting law firm Earthjustice, the fight to stop img_3578_smalleruranium mining near the Canyon included tribal, environmental, and national park stakeholders. Uranium mining pollutes land and water, and mares landscapes. The court ruling upheld the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to ban mining. You can read more about it here on the Sierra Club’s website. Thank you to everyone involved in this fight!

Third, tomorrow President Obama is slated to designate the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument! The San Gabriel Mountains is the entire mountain backdrop for the City of Los Angeles, and also is the crucial watershed for protecting part of the water supplies for the City. Just last month, Save The Colorado worked with the Los Angeles Waterkeeper to support this designation, and so we are absolutely delighted to see President Obama act so quickly to get this job done. We offer a huge thank you to all of the groups involved with San Gabriel Mountains Forever which have worked for years to protect the mountains, and we offer an EVEN HUGER thank you to President Obama! Read about the new monument in the Los Angeles Times here.

Fourth, local rafters in Moab fish a HUGE culvert ouf of the river!  Take a look at this whopper of a story!  Last week, a flash flood near Moab apparently washed this giant_culvert_fished_out_of_colorado_river_m7massive culvert from a side canyon down into the Colorado River. Local rafting companies didn’t just float by the culvert, they organized themselves and spent a 12-hour day getting the dangerous obstacle out of the Colorado River. A big thank you to Scott Solle and his team at Canyon Voyages Adventure Company for organizing his rafting colleagues to remove this hunk of steel. Take a look at the story in the Moab Sun News here.

Fifth and finally — and I know what you’re thinking…can he actually find FIVE “good news” stories for the Colorado River this week? Yes We Can! — people in Wyoming despise new dams on the Green River! Take a look at this heartwarming public opinion poll that came out of Wyoming last week which shows very little support for massive new dams. The poll is in response to Governor Matt Mead’s attempts to push forward a Wyoming Water Plan that could support new dams across the state. You can read more about it in WyoFile here.

There! You didn’t think we could do it, did you? Five Good News Stories. Next week we will return to our regularly scheduled doom-and-gloom programming.

As one last note, tomorrow — Friday — is the last day to tell Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to focus on water conservation in the Colorado Water Plan. Please click through here to send him an email at the end of this public comment period.

Have a great week and thank you for your support!

The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis for the Colorado River

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

We marched! On Sunday I had the good fortune to join my fellow river advocates in the Waterkeeper Alliance to march for climate justice in the streets of New York City. Over waterkeeper-climate-small400,000 people strong, the march was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. We sent a message to our leaders, saying that it is time to act on climate change now. A few days later in his speech to the United Nations, President Obama said, “Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we don’t hear them. We have to answer the call.” Amen! The climate crisis is a water crisis — rising sea levels, drought, floods, cataclysmic storms, all are coming our way due to climate change. I posted this blog in EcoWatch, take a read, “The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis.” The Colorado River ecosystem has been especially hard hit by drought. We are now in our 15th year of an ongoing drought, and parts of our ecosystem in California are experiencing the worst recorded drought in history. Further, scientists say this drought is likely to get worse, not better.

And they want to drain the river even more! Crazy as it sounds, at the very same time that the Colorado River continues to shrink and the levels in the reservoirs continue to gila-123drop, water planners across the Southwest U.S. are planning to build even more dams and reservoirs. Nevermind that building a reservoir won’t make it rain, they are planning on taking even more water out of an already degraded system and further debilitating the river we all love and cherish. In New Mexico, the State is considering a major diversion out of the Gila River which flows into the Colorado River. In Colorado, Denver Water is considering another diversion out of the headwaters of the Colorado River to be piped over to Denver. And in Utah, a crazy idea is being considered to take a large amount of water out of the river to fuel and cool a proposed nuclear powerplant. And there’s even more proposals than that! The U.S. has seen cataclysmic storms on our coasts and heatwaves across the midwest, but perhaps nowhere is climate change gripping an ecosystem as in the long-term drought across the Southwest U.S.

And so that’s why I marched! The streets were alive and crawling with humanity that wanted to protect our climate, our rivers, our planet, our economy. If you were there too, march-123that’s awesome and thank you! If not, here’s some petitions you can sign to help tell our elected leaders to protect and restore our rivers and ecosystems, not further drain and deplete them. 1. Sign this petition to Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado telling him to focus on alternatives to dams in the Colorado Water Plan. 2. Sign this petition to Governor Martinez of New Mexico and tell her to protect the Gila River. 3. Sign this petition to the State Engineer of Utah telling him to not allow the massive diversion of water for the Green River Nuclear Powerplant. Recall again, President Obama said, “Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we don’t hear them. We have to answer the call.” Only by speaking out will our elected leaders pay any attention to us at all. We need to create a movement of people that can lead and then force our elected leaders to follow us. The people lead, the politics follows. The climate crisis is a water crisis and we can fix it.

Thank you for all of your incredible support!

Save The Colorado by joining the People’s Climate March!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

The Colorado River ecosystem, which includes southern California, has been hard hit by long-term drought and is expected to get even more pummeled by climate change in climate-marchthe coming decades. The federal government predicts that climate change could decrease flows in the river by 10% – 30% by the year 2060. And so climate change is a huge issue facing the Colorado River and a huge issue that our organization is tackling. We are joining the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sept. 21st, and we encourage you to come along! March organizers predict that over 500,000 people will be at the march, which will coincide with the United Nations’ “Climate Summit” on Sept. 23rd. Over 950 groups have already committed to reaching out to their supporters encouraging attendance, and Save The Colorado is proud to join this effort. You can click here to sign up. There’s a whole webpage dedicated to transportation options — trains, planes, and automoblies! — so you can more easily attend. Why should you come? I wrote this article on EcoWatch to help convince you — “4 Reasons Water Advocates Should Join The People’s Climate March.” Take a read! We’ll see you in New York City on the 21st!

MEGADROUGHT! As the drought deepens in California, a new scientific study and a batch of newspaper articles have started predicting a “MEGADROUGHT” could impact megadroughtthe Colorado River ecosystem in the coming decades. For several decades scientists have known and studied historic “megadroughts” in the Southwest U.S. and Colorado River basin, but not until last week did a scientific paper directly connect potential future megadroughts to climate change. The scientific paper, published in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, puts the chance of a climate-change caused megadrought between 20 percent and 50 percent over the next century. Toby Ault, who is a Cornell University assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences and lead author of the paper, directly ties this risk to human-caused climate change when he says: “As we add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere—and we haven’t put the brakes on stopping this—we are weighting the dice for megadrought conditions.” Take a look at the LA Times story here or the USA Today story here.

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of news reports that included quotes and input from the Save The Colorado River Campaign. Here’s a story about the Colorado Water Plan in the Summit Daily that includes comments from me, here’s another in Palm Springs’ Desert Sun with a quote about California’s groundwater crisis, and here’s a great 40-minute interview with me by Derrick Jensen on the Progressive Radio Network all about the Colorado River! Take a look and listen to all!

Finally, we had an amazing trip last week in Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River! A wonderful 6-day trip with the Glen Canyon Institute and Holiday River Expeditions. Two great photos below. Summer’s almost gone — get out there and have fun!IMG_2341-small123holiday-cataract123


Colorado River Update: Stop The Gondola! Save The Vaquita!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

We have two items to TAKE ACTION for this week!  First, as you may have heard, a developer is proposing to build a massive hotel and casino on tribal land at the Screenshot (116)confluence of the Little Colorado River and Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. What’s worse is that the developer also wants to build a gondola that gives tourists rides from the rim of the canyon all the way down to the Colorado River.

This story has gotten nationwide attention, including here with an editorial by Kevin Fedarko in the New York Times last week. In our opinion, this may be the worst development proposal in the history of American development proposals (and that’s a high bar!). Is nothing sacred? You can learn more about the development proposals by visiting the website, “Save The Confluence.”  And, our friends at the Grand Canyon Trust have created a petition to key decision-makers — you can sign the petition here.

Second, the vaquita is almost extinct — please help!  What’s a vaquita, you ask? The vaquita is a small porpoise that lives in the upper reaches of the Gulf of California Screenshot (117)where the Colorado River no longer meets the sea. A recent population count has vaquita numbers down to 97 (from over 500 a decade ago), and scientists believe that if something isn’t done, the vaquita will be extinct in 2 or 3 years.

The Cousteau Society says it is the “most endangered marine mammal on the planet.” It is endangered mostly by gillnets and illegal fishing; it is also endangered by poor water quality — because the Colorado River no longer flows into the Gulf, there are water quality problems in the vaquita’s habitat. Yesterday I posted this story on EcoWatch — click through here to read the story and take action.  The story is titled, “The Most Endangered Child At Our Border.” At the bottom of the story is a link to a petition to Mexican officials demanding that they take action to protect the vaquita before it is killed into extinction.  Again, take a look at the EcoWatch story here.

Here’s our pic of the week!  Summer is almost over — get out there and enjoy it!


Thank you for your support!

Is the Colorado Water Plan a “River Destroyer’s Manifesto?”

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

The State of Colorado is creating a “Colorado Water Plan” — is it a “River Destroyer’s Manifesto?” As we’ve discussed on this blog many times, several states in the Southwest U.S. are busy creating “water plans” and all of them are looking grim.  Last week, we got manifesto1a look at the plan for the Denver Metro area and northern Colorado.  And it is GRIM. Because over 50% of the flow in the Colorado River originates in the state of Colorado, what happens in Colorado impacts the river and water suppliers from the Grand Canyon to Phoenix to Los Angeles. Take a look at this story in the Boulder Weekly that just came out. The draft plan in the Denver area reads like a river destroyer’s manifesto — they propose to further dam, drain, and divert every river in the state including the Colorado River and point that water to the sprawling Denver megalopolis along the Front Range mountains of Colorado. Recall, you sent Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper over 1,000 emails asking him to protect the Colorado River in this plan — we still don’t know what the Governor’s going to do. Stay tuned for all the action. This is likely going to be a brutal fight to keep Colorado’s rivers alive and we will need your voice!

Now for some better news! Those cool kids at the Redford Center and the Sonoran Institute have came out with a great new video about their future plans to keep restoring Screenshot (108)the Colorado River Delta in Mexico! Narrated by Robert Redford, this new video discusses the “pulse flow” earlier this year and offers really amazing new images we hadn’t seen before.

The pulse brought the desert back to life — not just the plants, animals, and river in the desert, but the people along the river too.  This video has some great footage of children and families playing in the river for the first time in their lives. In addition, the video talks about the next step in the process, that of getting a long-term solution of an ongoing flow in the Colorado River Delta.  Take a look at this video and click through to Raise the River to learn more.

July 25th was Colorado River Day! That’s right, for the third year in a row, Save The Colorado helped celebrate and support Colorado River Day, which is the day in 1921 coast-cardthat the U.S. Congress named it the Colorado River. Events occurred in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. Elected officials, youth groups, and business leaders were involved. See more here on the Colorado River Day website.

Save The Colorado had the great pleasure of working with New Belgium Brewing (makers of Fat Tire and Skinny Dip Beer) on Colorado River Day. One of our amazing volunteers came up with the idea for “Coast Cards” which were given out to visitors at the bar in the brewery in Fort Collins.  The Coast Cards were a letter to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper asking him to focus on conservation, to stop new dams, and to restore rivers in the Colorado Water Plan process. Here’s a pic of one of the coasters in the brewery. Click here to take a look at our Colorado River Day blog, and see our volunteer, Ellie Barber, delivering these Coast Cards to the Governor’s office.

Stay tuned for more action and information on how you can help protect and restore the Colorado River!

Colorado River Day with New Belgium Brewing!

Save The Colorado had a great Colorado River Day on July 25th, 2014!

Working with our lead sponsor, New Belgium Brewing, one of our amazing volunteers took the coast-cardreigns and created the “Coast Card Campaign.”  These “Coast Cards” are beer coasters that were handed out at the “Liquid Center” (which is the bar area…:-) ) at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins. The coasters are also printed with information about participating in Colorado’s Water Plan process. Visitors to the brewery got to enjoy great beers and provide official comments to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper for the Colorado Water Plan. Here’s what it says on the back of the coaster:

 ellie2Dear Governor Hickenlooper,

While formulating Colorado’s Water Plan, please provide leadership in three key areas:

1. Push for water conservation, reuse, and recycling as key steps in securing our future water needs.

2. Do not support new dams and diversions from Colorado’s rivers.

3. Start focusing on river restoration.

Sincerely, xoxo
(the card was signed by the visitor)

We had around 800 people sign the Coast Cards in the Brewery, and on Colorado River Day we delivered the Coast Cards to Governor Hickenlooper’s office in the State Capitol ellie1in Denver. Our amazing volunteer, Ellie Barber of Snowmass, Colorado, came over to Fort Collins and Denver and saw her inspiration through from the Brewery to the Governor’s office.

Thank you Ellie!

If you would also like to give the Governor some input into the Colorado Water Plan, you can click through here to our online comment page. Go ahead and let the Governor hear your voice too!

Happy Colorado River Day!

As Drought Deepens, Bad Actors Emerge (San Diego, pay attention!)

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

San Diego — bad actor of the week!  We are working with conservation groups throughout the Southwest U.S. to protect and restore the Colorado River for future generations of people and for the river and its mayor-falconer1wildlife.  In that capacity, we focus on highlighting good and bad actors who are impacting the health of the Colorado River. Unfortunately the bad actor this week is the City of San Diego which gets about 1/2 of its water from the Colorado River. At the same time that California Governor Brown encouraged all Californians to reduce their water use by 20%, San Diego actually contributed to an increase in water usage by 8% — in other words, they wasted more water this year than last year, even in this extreme drought! Even worse, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has refused to elevate the City’s drought response program to a higher level of conservation and awareness. So, working with the local conservation group, San Diego Coastkeeper, we are highlighting San Diego and Mayor Faulconer as the ‘bad actor’ of the week — please click through here to our Facebook page to let Mayor Faulconer know your thoughts on his decision to continue wasting water in San Diego. You can read more about this on EcoWatch here.

Lake Mead’s decline continues to be the big story of the week!  As the Lake level falls to its lowest point in history, the political escalation is rising.  Two conservation groups — Lake-mead1234American Rivers and Western Resource Advocates — came out with a report last week on solutions to restoring the balance of water in the Colorado River system.  You can read this report here. It adds to the growing concern of how to address the long-term decline of Lake Mead as well as the entire Colorado River.  The states in the Southwest U.S. have also come up with their own plan, discussed in this Arizona Daily Star article here.  And, political leaders like Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom have entered the fray with this editorial here in the Las Vegas Review Journal — Senator Segerblom says, “Like us, rivers live and rivers breathe.” The big question is if the federal government or the states can act quickly enough to address the problem, and then a host of questions arise about the details of the actions that might be taken. As the lake and river continues to decline, we are focusing on the health of the river itself — our goal is to keep it flowing and keep the critters it supports (including us human critters!) alive and healthy.

Tomorrow, Friday July 25th, is Colorado River Day!  Woop!  Yes, for the third year in a row we are celebrating Colorado River Day, the day on which in 1921 the U.S. colorado-river-day-final-colored-logoCongress named it the Colorado River. You can read more about Colorado River Day on its website here.  Events will take place in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada highlighting the role of the river in the lives of local people and decision-makers.  The events focus on raising awareness about the problems with the river, and how local governments and local leaders can push forward water conservation programs that help protect and restore the river’s ecosystem.

For your own part, see if you can get outside this weekend and enjoy your local watershed. Rivers are the lifeblood of our ecosystems across the American West — they deserve special protection and appreciation. Check out the photo below — get out there and start paddling!paddle-coriver12


Thank you for your support!

BREAKING NEWS: Lake Mead Water Level Lowest In History!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

The big and bad news of this week is that drought, human overuse, and climate change have finally taken their toll on Lake Mead which has dropped to its lowest water level in lakemeaddrought-smallhistory. Lake Mead, which is a man-made reservoir behind Hoover Dam that supplies water to Las Vegas, much of Arizona, and all of Southern California, is now just 39% full. The ongoing social and political drama around the falling lake level continues to reverberate throughout the Southwest U.S. and California in newspaper articles, water agencies, and statements by public officials (see here in the Denver Post). This morning, I authored this exclusive column in EcoWatch titled, “Drought Drains Lake Mead to Lowest Level as Nevada Senator Calls for Government Audit.” To the point, folks in Las Vegas are getting mighty concerned about the falling lake which is their sole source of water.  What’s equally interesting though is that this Nevada State Senator, Tick Segerblom, is very concerned about the health of the Colorado River. Senator Segerblom states in his press release: “Healthy rivers signal healthy societies, yet Reclamation failed to mention ecological issues in its recent analysis. The Colorado River is a river of national parks, but the river running through them is struggling.”  (Please click through here to EcoWatch and read the column.)  Stay tuned, and we will keep you apprised of this deteriorating situation.

The extreme drought in California is just plain getting worse every week! And, Californians do not seem to be rising to the occasion to ramp up their water Screenshot (76)conservation efforts. Check out this video made by the New York Times which discusses how California citizens are not meeting the request of their Governor, Jerry Brown, to decrease their water use by 20%. The Times video states that conservation in California cities has only hit 5% despite the extreme drought and the mandate of Governor Brown.

This California drought is also reverberating throughout the Colorado River basin from the top to the bottom. Check out this TV news video from Utah featuring Zach Frankel from the environmental group, Utah Rivers Council.  At the same time that Lake Mead and the Colorado River are stretched beyond the breaking point, State officials in Utah still want to move forward with a massive new diversion out of the river to fuel and subsidize growth in Southwest Utah. Frankel states, “Drought in California means that there will be major scrutiny over new water diversions in states like Utah.”  As the drought continues, the tension is rising throughout the Southwest U.S.     

And finally a chance for you to take some action to address this ongoing chaos! At the same time that drought has stricken the Colorado River basin, the State of Wyoming is UpperGreenRiver-WY_commentproposing to build more dams and reservoirs on the Green River which flows into the Colorado. Our friends at American Rivers have created this action alert to Wyoming’s Governor, Matt Mead:  ”As part of Wyoming’s new statewide water strategy, Gov. Matt Mead is considering whether to recommend building two large dams near the headwaters of the Green River at the foot of the Wind River Range. The two dams — one of which would impound 150,000 acre-feet of water on BLM land at Warren Bridge, and the other that would impound 200,000 acre-feet of water further upstream on national forest land — would flood one of Wyoming’s most iconic wild rivers and irreparably harm one of the richest fish and wildlife habitats in the lower 48 states.” Please click through here and tell Governor Mead to stop this nonsense!

Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities for action!  Thank you for your support!