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Colorado River Update! 2015, Here We Come!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

Save The Colorado is the only organization on the planet whose mission is to protect and restore the Colorado River and its tributaries from the source to the sea. We are delighted to provide you with updates, action items, and greatly appreciate your support! Please consider donating to Save The Colorado in your year-end giving plans — you can donate online by clicking here.

As the year winds down, several very lake-meadimportant issues are moving that will impact the future of the Colorado River — some are good news, others are bad.

First, on the good news front, water districts in the three states in the lower basin — Arizona, California, and Nevada — have reached a significant agreement to conserve and share a large amount of water which will better protect water supplies in the lower basin. The New York Times covers the story here. The deal will help stave off the ever-falling water levels in Lake Mead and is the biggest agreement, so far, to indicate that lower basin states are able to find a collaborative solution to how they manage the lower Colorado River.

Second, on the good news front, scientists who studied the “pulse flow” that occurred in the Colorado River Delta at the beginning of 2014 have determined that the test case provided an enormous benefit to the ecology of the region. Not only did the area “re-green” itself as cottonwoods and willows blossomed and dropped their seeds, but beavers, coyotes, and birds also returned to the area. A good National Geographic report and video here depicts the changes. What’s needed next in the Delta is an ongoing “base flow” of water to keep the river bed alive, and then another agreement with Mexico for the next five years of river management.

On the bad news front, a series of problems are moving forward in the upper basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico that may doom the future of the Colorado River. Each state is going through a water planning process, the end result being that they are planning many more dams and diversions to get more water out of the Colorado River and its tributaries. As we’ve noted in past blogs, New Mexico is sor-capitol-small1moving forward with the Gila River Diversion, and Utah is proposing up to $15 billion in new dam projects. Further, the State of Wyoming is proposing “10 dams in 10 years,” and Colorado just unveiled its first water plan which calls for up to $20 billion in new water projects. I wrote an opinion piece in the High Country News laying out this potential river devastation — take a read here.

Of course Save The Colorado is fighting hard to address these threats. We’ve fought the Gila River Diversion and will continue to do so, we’ve provided financial support to the groups in Utah that are fighting dams, and we’ve taken to the streets to protest in Colorado when their water plan was unveiled. We showed up at the Colorado State Capitol with the “Save Our Rivers” banner and we got lots of news coverage including this TV report on Denver’s Channel 9 — take a look here.

Thank you again for all of the support in 2014! In 2015 we will continue this work — from Los Angeles to Mexicali to Las Vegas to Denver and beyond! — and we greatly appreciate your support to do that.  Please include Save The Colorado in your year-end giving plans by clicking here.

Stay tuned for more updates and action in 2015!

Gary Wockner
Executive Director, Save The Colorado

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