Hi Amazing Friends of the Colorado River!
As fans of the extraordinary natural heritage this amazing planet has given us, you already know we live in deep, dark and troubled times. During these times, it will be individual and collective people who stand tall, speak out, and make a difference. So, we’re going to start telling you stories of some of the people around the Colorado River basin who are speaking out to protect it.
Who is Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom?
Senator Segerblom is one of the few elected officials in the Colorado River basin who has openly advocated for the removal of Glen Canyon Dam. For good reason, his Senate district in Las Vegas has had to spend billions of dollars due to the falling levels of Lake Mead, all the while Lake Powell just sits upstream with water in it that no one is using and is seeping and evaporating away.
The Senator’s most recent column appeared in the Las Vegas Review Journal, and is titled, “California Experience A Reason For Southern Nevadans To Be Wary Of Glen Canyon Dam.” In the column, Senator Segerblom describes the dangers of Glen Canyon Dam and the destruction it has wrought on Grand Canyon National Park, and ends with: “This is why I’m introducing legislation this session that requests the nation’s premiere, independent research body, the National Academy of Sciences, to assess the current management practices for the Colorado River, including options for destroying a dam that never should have been built.”
We look forward to Senator Segerblom’s legislation and wish it a speedy race through the Nevada State Legislature. Thank you Senator Segerblom for all of your work!
It’s been a fascinating month in other news around the Colorado River basin — here’s a roundup of what’s going on and what we’re doing!
First, when Donald Trump signed his Executive Order to gut the Clean Water Act this week, we jumped into the fray to defend clean and healthy rivers. Trump’s “Dirty Water Order” not only tries to roll back Obama’s Clean Water Rule, it also tries gut the 45 year old Clean Water Act by removing clean water protections for millions of miles of rivers and streams across America and in the Colorado River basin.
To put it straight: Trump is trying to drain and destroy our wetlands, not drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.
Save The Colorado jumped into the media to defend clean water and healthy rivers. We had quotes in the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Think Progress, Water Deeply, and KGNU Radio. “Trump’s order will be vigorously challenged in the courts and in the court of public opinion,” we told the newspapers. “The American people want clean and healthy rivers and waterways.” Within hours of starting to gut the Clean Water Act, Trump also announced that he wants to axe the budget of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal agency that enforces clean water protections across the country. We will jump into that fray too, defending clean water and healthy rivers whenever we can.
Second, yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Ryan Zinke to be the next Secretary of Interior. We have grave concerns about Zinke — he had a terrible environmental voting record as a congressman, he supported selling off public lands, he supported new dams and diversions out of our rivers, he’s supported massive increases in fossil fuel extraction on public lands, and he’s been wishy-washy about climate change.
On this last issue, climate change, we’ve weighed in heavily over the last few weeks. In fact, two weeks ago the pre-eminent climate change scientists, Brad Udall and Jonathan Overpeck, published a new scientific article indicating that climate change has already reduced flows in the Colorado River and could reduce flows by as much as 50% over the next 50 years. This study got very wide national media attention, including in the Washington Post, where we had this quote:
“First and foremost, the science continues to pound home the fact that climate change is real, is happening right now, is causing impacts right now, and will get worse. Second, the Colorado River is already completely used up and drained bone dry before it reaches the sea, and so as the amount of the water in the river decreases due to climate change, the Southwest U.S. will need to use less water in the future, not more.” — Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado
We will keep a very close eye on Ryan Zinke — he’s now the man with the hands on the tiller of the Colorado River and millions of acres of beautiful public lands surrounding it.
Third, we are still ready and poised to fight the new proposed dams on the Colorado River! All of the chaos in Washington, D.C., may have slowed down the permitting processes for the new proposed dams that we are fighting. The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — which are the two agencies leading the permitting — are not answering their emails or phone calls, so we are waiting patiently to see what they will do.
Our policy of “No New Dams And Diverisons” is the only rational and sane policy in this situation where the Colorado River is already severely depleted and climate change threatens to drain it even more. Over the last two years, you have taken action to reach out to the permitting agencies, and we will keep you in the loop as soon as we have more information. Two projects are at the top of our list — the proposed enlargement of Gross Dam in Boulder County, Colorado, and the proposed new “Chimney Hollow Dam” in Larimer County, Colorado, which would both further drain the Colorado River. We are also keeping a close eye on the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline in Utah, and the proposed expansion of Fontenelle Dam in Wyoming. Stay tuned!
Are you tired of the bad news? THEN, LET’S GO RAFTING!
For the third year, our amazing friends at OARS Whitewater Rafting have offered us a raft trip to help raise money and spread the word about our work to protect and restore the Colorado River! This year’s trip will be in Desolation Canyon on the Green River in Utah.
The 6-day trip begins on Sept 3rd and runs through some of the pristine wilderness along the Green River as well as several Class III rapids. In between the rapids, there will be lots of smooth water for standup paddleboarding and relaxing in Utah’s bright sun. This is a “family friendly” trip and outdoor adventurers of all ages and experience levels can join us for a safe wilderness raft trip.
Click through here to OARS’ website to read more about the trip and sign up! We hope to see you out on the river this year enjoying the amazing wilderness landscapes in Utah.
Thank you for all of the support and stay tuned for more action!