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Will Utah Tar Sands Destroy the Colorado River?

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

Happy Summer!  The weather is warm and many of the rivers and the creeks in the Colorado River basin are flowing high and beautiful — get out there and enjoy it!

Here’s an update of what’s important and happening across the world of the Colorado River this week:

Will Utah Tar Sands Help Destroy The Colorado River?  We often think of the Keystone XL us-tarsandsPipeline in Alberta, Canada, when we think of tar sands, but there’s another huge tar sands deposit in Utah that may soon be exploited.  Check out this story in Calgary Herald about the proposal.

Tar sands mining is a very dangerous threat to water quality and quantity in the Colorado River in Utah and downstream all the way to Los Angeles.  We are staying on top of it by communicating with our colleagues in Utah who are fighting this bad project — we will keep you informed about how you can take action to address this threat.

The Very Best Story On The Colorado River Delta Restoration!  As you know, over delta-supthe last few months the story of the restoration of the Colorado River Delta has been playing out.  Hundreds of stories have appeared in publications across the U.S. and beyond, but this one just published in Outside Magazine is one of the best. Click here to read the story.  Written by Rowan Jacobsen with photos and video by Pete McBride, the story covers their epic and history-making standup paddleboard trip down the Colorado River Delta after the pulse flow release.  Especially take a look at the video — if you only read one Delta story, make this it.

Will The Snowpack Save Lakes Powell and Mead This Year?  Answer = No.  There mead123was a high amount of snow in some parts of the Colorado River basin this year — especially in Wyoming and Northern Colorado — but it’s not enough to address the problem of the long-term drought and overuse of the Colorado River.  The inflow into Lake Powell is only “average” and Lake Mead is expected to continue to drop.  This story from Popular Science, “Last Straw: The Fortunes of Las Vegas Will Rise or Fall With Lake Mead,” tells part of the story, and this story from the Steamboat Today fills in some more details.  A Colorado River water manager sums it up: “Currently, Lake Mead and Lake Powell are 42 percent full,” Kuhn said. “Does that make us nervous? Yeah that makes us very nervous.”

Is This Dam Gross Enough Already?  One of the projects that is winding its way grossthrough the federal permitting process is a massive enlargement of this dam/reservoir in Boulder County, Colorado.  Yes, it is actually named “Gross Reservoir.”  The project — proposed by Denver Water — would drain more water out of the Colorado River and pipe it to the sprawling suburbs.  But, the Boulder County government says ‘Not So Fast!’  Last week, Boulder County sent a scathing comment letter into the Army Corps of Engineers assailing the project, its timeline, and its impact on Boulder county residents.  Take a look at this story in the Boulder Daily Camera here titled, “Boulder County Assails Gross Reservoir Expansion Analysis.

And One Action Item This Week!  Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper, continues n-JOHN-HICKENLOOPER-large5701to be assailed by environmentalists for his policies against water conservation, in support of fracking, and his so-far lack of leadership in the Colorado Water Plan process.  This past week Hickenlooper vetoed a bill that would have increased water conservation across the state and increased flows in rivers.  One environmental group, Clean Water Fund, created a banner about Hickenlooper’s “Failure To Lead” and pulled it behind an airplane over Coors Field in Denver during a Rockies baseball game — the item generated this story in the Denver Post.  Clean Water Fund also created this call2action where you can click through and send an email to Gov. Hickenlooper.  Go for it!

Finally, the pic of the week, below!  Enjoy and thank you for your support!!

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