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For Immediate Release
April 9, 2012
Save The Colorado River Campaign
Contact: Gary Wockner, 970-218-8310
Groups Deliver Over 5,000 Signatures to Restore the Colorado River Delta
Denver, CO — Today, 25 conservation groups throughout the Southwest United States delivered over 5,000 signatures to the U.S. Department of State urging officials to work with Mexico to restore water flow to the Colorado River Delta. The signatures were gathered on a Change.org petition over the last few months in response to U.S. and Mexico negotiations over the fate of the Delta. Currently, the Delta is drained bone dry as both countries take every drop of the river — over 5 trillion gallons per year — for farms and cities from Denver to San Diego and beyond.
“We need to focus on collaboration and compromise,” said Gary Wockner of the Save the
Colorado River campaign. “The U.S. and Mexico have a historic opportunity to meet their own water needs while allotting a small flow back to the river.”
Over the last several months, the U.S. and Mexico have been hunkered down in negotiations to create a new “minute” in the treaty covering the use of Colorado River water. That treaty — overseen by the “International Boundary Waters Commission” — involves how both countries use and share Colorado River water and how much streamflow remains in the river.
The petition follows on the heels of extraordinary efforts by the conservation community to highlight the problems, and opportunities, in the Delta which used to be a 2-million acre wetland and one of the most vibrant migratory bird oases in the Amiercas. Over the last few months:
- Jon Waterman, who recently paddled from the Source to the Sea of the river, published an editorial in the New York Times.
- Sandra Postel published an editorial in the Los Angeles times.
- Alexandra Cousteau published an editorial in the San Diego Unition-Tribune.
- Gary Wockner published an editorial in Huffington Post.
- Pete McBride’s film, “Chasing Water,” which in part highlighted the dry Delta has won numerous awards throughout the U.S. and beyond.
- The Save the Colorado River campaign visited the Delta with the Sonoran Instituteto better understand opportunities to restore it.
- Two young adventurers from Colorado College — Will and Zak — finished their own Source to Sea paddle and did a video interview with U.S. Department of Interior officials highlighting the opportunity to restore the Delta.
- The 370-member business coalition dedicated to protecting the Colorado River, Protect the Flows, sent five business leaders to the Delta to inspect its current state and reflect on the importance of flows for their own businesses back home. The leaders reported back on their trip to Members of Congress and the Department of Interior during their follow-up trip to Washington, DC in January.
- Both Jon Waterman and Pete McBride published books about the Colorado River, highlighting the dry Delta, that were widely acclaimed.
- Very recently, the Redford Center created the “Watershed Movie,” also highlighting the dry Delta and had its opening night in Washington D.C. with remarks by EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and the film’s producer, Robert Redford.
- And finally, the Sonoran Institute officially created a “Water Trust” that is starting to raise money to buy water to restore the Delta.
“The conservation community is 100% committed to doing its part to bring the Colorado River Delta back to life,” said Wockner. “We urge the U.S. and Mexico to move forward so that all Americans and Mexicans can celebrate this unique bi-national success story.
The following 25 conservation organizations supported the petition: Save the Colorado, Sierra Club – Rocky Mountain Chapter, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Living Rivers: Colorado Riverkeeper, The Environmental Group, Western Rivers Institute, Blue Legacy, The Ocean Foundation, Clean Water Fund, San Diego Coastkeeper, Save the Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper, American Whitewater, Waterkeeper Alliance, Food and Water Watch, Colorado Ocean Coalition, Glen Canyon Institute, Save the Colorado River Delta: Sonoran Institute, Sheep Mountain Alliance, Grand Canyon Trust, American Rivers, Citizens for Dixie’s Future, Great Basin Water Network, Redford Center: Red River Film, Planning and Conservation League, and Defenders of Wildlife.