Colorado River Update! Take Two Action Items to Protect The River!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

We have two action items today — one in New Mexico and one in Southern California!

First in New Mexico, there’s a proposal on the table to build a massive new diversion of water out of the Gila River, which is one of the last wild rivers in the Southwest U.S. and gila-protest2the Colorado River basin. The proposal would use federal money to divert the Gila and take the water over to cities and farms in Southwest New Mexico.  But, there’s counter proposals to use the money instead to promote water conservation and efficiency projects in the same cities and farms.  We are on the side of water conservation and efficiency!  Further, by Dec. 31st, New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez’s “Interstate Stream Commission” will make their decision about whether to support the diversion or not.  We’ve launched a petition on Change.org to Governor Martinez encouraging her to protect the Gila River, not gila-billboard1divert it.  Please click through here to sign our Change.org petition to tell Governor Martinez to stop the diversion and protect the Gila River!

As you may know, the Gila River is a “tributary” to the Colorado River — the Gila flows through New Mexico and Arizona, and then flows into the Colorado River.  Save The Colorado’s mission is to protect and restore the Colorado River and its tributaries from the source to the sea.  We are keeping track of dam and diversion projects throughout the Colorado River basin, and this Gila diversion is a bad idea!  Again, please click through and join thousands of New Mexicans to protect the Gila!  Governor Martinez needs to hear from us as soon as possible, and before the Dec. 31st deadline.

Second, some good news — and therefore a THANK YOU — in Southern California! The Mayors of San Diego and Los Angeles have recently taken stronger steps to address the drought and water supply challenges in Southern California.  Both cities get up to 1/2 of their water from the Colorado River, and both cities are moving forward with alternative water supply opportunities that could better protect the Colorado River.  Further, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer recently took a strong stance to help lead his City Council to support a big new water recycling facility in the City.  So, we created this Facebook “THANK YOU” for Mayor Faulconer of San Diego and Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles. (Their fine photos are below). Please click through here to “like” and thank them.sd-la-mayors

We will keep working across the Colorado River basin to support good projects and stop bad ones.  Stay tuned for more action, and thank you for your support!

 

Press Release: New Mexico Gov. Martinez Should Stop The Gila River Diversion

For Immediate Release
November 17, 2014
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado

New Mexico Gov Martinez Should Stop The Gila River Diversion
Diversion would continue river-destruction legacy across Colorado River Basin

Fort Collins, CO:  Last week, Save The Colorado launched a Change.org petition to tell New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez to protect the Gila River by stopping the proposed Gila River Diversion. The Diversion proposes to take more water out of the gila-protest2Gila River – at a cost of nearly a billion dollars – and pipe it to cities and farms in Southwest New Mexico. A board appointed by Governor Martinez, the Interstate Stream Commission, has the final say in whether the State asks the U.S. Department of Interior for part of the money for the diversion, or alternatively for money for conservation and efficiency measures. Ultimately it is her appointed commission and she is responsible for the decisions they make.

“The Gila River in New Mexico is one of the more beautiful rivers in the Colorado River basin and flows into the Colorado River downstream,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado.  “The proposed diversion would continue the legacy of river destruction across the Southwest U.S. at a time when we need a common-sense shift to more sustainable water management policies focusing on conservation and efficiency.”

On Friday, November 14th, the staff of the Interstate Stream Commission recommended the Diversion (see this article in the Albuquerque Journal).  A few days before, a large gila-billboardrally of environmentalists, taxpayers, and river protectors urged the appointed Commission to oppose the Diversion (see this article in the Albuquerque Journal).  The Governor’s appointed Commission members must make a final decision by Dec. 31st.

“If Governor Martinez supports a recommendation for the Diversion, it will launch a multi-decade water war and permitting battle in New Mexico and the Southwest U.S.,” said Wockner.  “Alternatively, conservation and efficiency programs are welcomed by the environmental community and are the fastest, easiest, cheapest method for cities and farms to maximize water supplies. Governor Martinez has an opportunity to show that New Mexico can be an innovator in the West.”

“We need to protect and restore the rivers across the Colorado River basin, not further deplete them,” continued Wockner. “From Denver to Casper to San Diego to Albuquerque, we are keeping track of these proposed water projects, and we are strongly encouraging decision-makers to find a new and more sustainable path forward.”

–end–

Colorado River Update: Utah — VERY BAD Actor of the Week!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

When you think of Utah, do you think Moab? Arches National Park? Skiing? Well add this to your list: Utah probably has the worst water management policies of any state in the U.S.  Worse yet, Utah is proposing to double-down and “put dams on every river in utah-frankelthe state” and spend $32 Billion (that’s right, BILLION) on new water projects.

First, just last week, the U.S. Geological Survey put out a scientific study proclaiming that Utah uses more water per person than any state in the U.S.  Zach Frankel from Utah Rivers Council jumped on this and called Utah “The biggest water waster in America.” Check out the TV news video discussing this issue and featuring Zach here. While the U.S. as a whole is decreasing water use, Utah is increasing its water use.  Frankel blames much of the waste on the fact that Utah also has the cheapest water in the U.S., in that cities fail to charge the true cost of water to its citizens. What’s the result? More dried up streams like in the TV news video above. Boo hiss, Utah!

What’s even WORSE in Utah?  Get this: The State of Utah government wants to build more and more dams across Utah’s rivers. In fact, in a recent newspaper article, a state water official said: “‘It’s necessary to put dams on all rivers in Utah,’ said Todd East_Canyon_Dam_Morgan_County_UtahAdams, deputy director for the Utah Division of Water Resources.” Seriously, he said that! And once again, Zach Frankel from the Utah Rivers Council counters this nonsense in this newspaper article here, by calling it a “fear tactic” to scare the public into supporting higher taxes for more and more unnecessary dam projects.

Further yet, the State of Utah has outlined $32 Billion worth of water projects that includes nearly $15 Billion for new dam and reservoir projects. And, they’ve hired a slick public relations firm to try and jam it down Utah taxpayers’ throats. Check out this story in the Deseret News discussing the massive proposed expenditures. And, once again, Utah River Council’s Zach Frankel snaps back by saying, “It is an insult to try and dupe Utahns into ($32 billion) in debt with some flashy marketing. These water districts have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on propaganda Screenshot (143)for boondoggles like the Lake Powell Pipeline, but they have no way of showing they can repay this debt without draconian increases in water rates, impact fees and property taxes.”

And if that’s not enough, as we’ve outlined in the past year, Utah is leading the United States in proposals for dirty energy projects including tar sands, oil shale, and fracking for oil and gas. The new film, Last Rush for the Wild West, which we’ve discussed in the blog, highlights many of these threats.  You can watch the trailer here.

Of course it’s bad news that Utah is in the back seat (or the trunk of the car?) in water policy in the Colorado River basin, but the good news is that Utah environmental groups are working hard to change the status quo.  A big THANK YOU and shout out to Utah Rivers Council, Living Rivers, Glen Canyon Institute, and Citizens for Dixie’s Future, all groups that Save The Colorado has supported.

Keep fighting, Team!  Thank you for your support!

 

 

Save The Colorado Squares Off Against Windy Gap Firming Project

For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Wockner, E.D., Save The Colorado

Save The Colorado Squares Off Against The Windy Gap Firming Project
Large new dam and diversion would further drain the Colorado River and violate federal law
“If the patient is bleeding out, you don’t cut open a new artery to heal it — that’s what the Windy Gap Firming Project would do.” — Gary Wockner


Fort Collins, CO:
  Save The Colorado has sent the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation a 21-point letter highlighting how the Windy Gap Firming Project would further drain and destroy the Colorado River and violate federal law. The Bureau had opened an official public comment period (which closed on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014) in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process that gave the public the opportunity to once again upper-coloradoreview and comment on the proposed project.  Save The Colorado’s letter (posted here) summarizes over a hundred pages of negative comments the project had received during the EIS process from environmental groups, homeowners groups, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The Windy Gap Firming Project would further drain and destroy the Colorado River and violate federal law,” said Gary Wockner, Executive Director of Save The Colorado. “The Colorado River is already on the brink of destruction, from the top to the bottom — it needs to be protected and restored, not further drained.”

The Windy Gap Firming Project proposes to drain at least 33,000 acre feet of new water out of the Upper Colorado River, pipe it under the continental divide, into a large new dam and reservoir complex west of Loveland, and down into the sprawling suburban megalopolis of northern Colorado. About 60% of the Upper Colorado River has already been drained out and piped to Front Range.

Ironically, the Windy Gap Firming Project decision point also comes along at the exact same time that federal officials and water agencies throughout the Southwest U.S. have sounded alarm bells and launched a new program to get more water back in the Colorado River.  A few weeks ago, the very same U.S. Bureau of Reclamation sent out a press release discussing the “gripping drought” that had “reduced water levels to critically low levels” and their program to “protect the Colorado River.”  The two main reservoirs in the Colorado River system, Powell and Mead, are at their lowest point in history, and just last week the Central Arizona Project posted a story saying they were planning for the state’s first Colorado River water shortage in history in 2017.

“If the patient is bleeding out, you don’t cut open a new artery to heal it — that’s what the Windy Gap Firming Project would do,” said Wockner. “The Bureau of Reclamation needs to stop this project in its tracks and change course towards river protection and restoration that also protects water supplies for the entire Southwest U.S.”

Save The Colorado is promoting alternatives to the $300 million project that would better protect the river and find a more sustainable water path forward. “Cities should focus on conservation, efficiency, growth management, water recycling, and water-sharing agreements with farmers, not new river-destroying schemes,” said Wockner.

The Bureay of Reclamation has not indicated when they will issue a “Record of Decision,” after which many more permits and decisions are required including a decision from the Army Corps of Engineers, before the project could move forward.

–end–

It’s Colorado River movie night — grab your popcorn and a hot date!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

Grab your popcorn and a hot date — it’s movie night! While we’ve all been busy advocating for the protection and restoration of the Colorado River, documentary Screenshot (149)filmmakers across the Southwest U.S. have been busy making films.  Here’s the four latest films you’ll need to put on your “much watch” list for the Colorado River.

First is “Last Rush For The Wild West” which highlights the Tar Sands threat and other dirty energy projects in Utah and Colorado. Made by Jennifer Eckstrom, the film interviews activists and digs in deep about the likely impacts of tar sands and oil shale on the landscapes and waterways of the West.

You can watch the trailer by clicking here.

The film debuted in September at the Moab International Film Festival. To get a screening of the film in your community, contact Jennifer Ekstrom through the film’s facebook page here.

Screenshot (150)Second is “Warm Springs” which tells the harrowing tale of one of the last wild rapids on the last wild river in the Southwest U.S., the Warm Springs Rapid on the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Park.  Directed by Cody Perry and Ben Saheb, the film has some organization heft behind it with support from O.A.R.S. rafting company, Friends of the Yampa, Rig To Flip, American Whitewater, and American Rivers. As such, Warm Springs is a high-quality production.

You can watch the trailer by clicking here.  You can watch the full fiim by clicking here.

For screening details, go to Rig To Flip’s website here.

Screenshot (151)Third is “Wrenched,” a brand new film by M.L. Lincoln which chronicles the history and era of “monkey wrenching” environmental activism and the exploits of legendary writer/activist Edward Abbey.  This film has many long minutes of previously unseen footage and speeches of Edward Abbey — if you’re an Abbey aficionado, this is a must see.  The “cracking” of Glen Canyon Dam also plays prominently in this film as does Abbey’s work of fiction, The Monkey Wrench Gang.

You can watch the trailer of Wrenched by clicking here.

To get screening details visit the film’s website here.

Screenshot (152)Finally, Pete McBride has been at it again! Pete and his merry band of river-exploring friends were the first in history to paddle the pulse flow of the Colorado River Delta earlier this year after the U.S. and Mexico released water back in the river. Pete’s new film, “Delta Dawn,” which chronicles that trip, will premier at the Banff International Film Festival in November. Pete’s last production, “Chasing Water,” received international awards and acclaim. We are really looking forward to Pete’s new film, Delta Dawn. You can see the trailer for Delta Dawn here.  To contact Pete about screening details for the full film, visit Pete’s website here.

Have a GREAT time watching these movies. Thank you for your support and stay tuned for more adventures!

 

Press Release: Flake/Heinrich Survivor Episode Inspires Bingo Game

For Immediate Release
October 27, 2014
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado

Senators Flake and Heinrich’s Survivor Episode Inspires Colorado River Bingo Game

“We’re all in this together” is how the Southwest U.S. much approach water too
#RivalSurvivor #CORiver

Colorado River, U.S.: On Wednesday, October 29th, the Discovery Channel will air the “Rival Survivor” episode starring two opposing U.S. Senators, Jeff Flake a Republican from Arizona and Martin Heinrich a Democrat from New Mexico.  The show highlights how the Senators worked together to meet their basic needs on a deserted island and is providing a bit of a guidepost for how the gridlocked U.S. Senate needs to work together too.

Screenshot (145)And as noted in this Yahoo News story about the show: “The biggest challenge for the pair was securing the most basic human need: water.”

In that vein, the Save The Colorado River Campaign sees the potential for a great example of how the Southwest U.S. must approach its management of water and the Colorado River, which both New Mexico and Arizona rely on for their water supplies.

“We are encouraging people to watch Rival Survivor as an example of how opposing sides need to come together to protect the Colorado River and its water supplies for the Southwest U.S.,” said Gary Wockner, E.D. of Save The Colorado which works to protect and restore the river. “We created this bingo game so people would think about the importance of water while having fun with the show.”

With the theme “When it comes to water and the Colorado River, we’re all in this together” the bingo game (download and print here, image left) gives Rival Survivor viewers a way to create their own unique bingo card and play along at home or together.

The ecological health of the Colorado River and the quantity of its water supplies are in decline throughout the 7 southwest states in the river basin, including New Mexico and Arizona.  Most recently the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and four large municipal water districts announced the creation of a pilot program to work together to increase water conservation in four states.  Much more cooperation will be needed to address the threat of climate change, river health, and population growth throughout the region which runs from Denver to Los Angeles and beyond.

“If these two rival survivor senators can work together on a deserted island, the residents of the Southwest U.S. and policymakers should be able to work together to protect our river and its water supplies,” said Wockner.  “When we do that, we all will score the most important bingo.”

Viewers are encouraged to use the #RivalSurvivor and #CORiver hashtags on twitter.

–end–

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

CRD-won-1-e1404174400359

 

 


New Coalition Launched to Protect Colorado River Headwaters

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts:
Zach Frankel, Utah Rivers Council: zach@utahrivers.org / 8016991856
John Weisheit, Colorado Riverkeeper: john@livingrivers.org / 4352602590
Tim Wagner, Utah Physicians for the Environment: twagneruphe@gmail.com / 8015025450
Dan Mayhew, Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club: drmayhew@comcast.net / 8017125353
Pete Nichols, Waterkeeper Alliance: pnichols@waterkeeper.org / 7078450832
Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado: gary@savethecolorado.org / 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 (www.coloradoriverconnected.org) 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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO JOIN THE COALITION VISIT:
www.coloradoriverconnected.org

Follow us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/coloradoriverconnected

########

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!