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Colorado River Update: Lake Powell Reaching “DEAD POOL”?

Hi Friends of the Colorado River!

It’s your support that keeps us working hard — you can donate online by clicking here.

First, as drought and warming intensify across the Southwest U.S., the Bureau of Reclamation has officially stated that Lake Powell could reach “dead pool” in the next couple of years and Glen Canyon Dam would then be useless. To address this threat — which we have been warning everyone about for five years — the Bureau has launched a $2 million investigation for how to get water around or through the dam and still generate electricity as the water level in Lake Powell goes lower and lower.

The Bureau’s study is similar to the engineering contest we are supporting to find ways for how to “rewild” the Colorado River and bypass Glen Canyon Dam. Our boardmember, Dan Beard, was interviewed about the contest on KNAU public radio in Arizona. (You can listen to the interview by clicking here.) In addition, our lawsuit against the Dept of Interior for not taking climate change seriously in the Glen Canyon Dam Management Plan now has added legs. In fact, a report two days ago in Arizona Central newspaper mentioned the renewed relevance of our lawsuit and quoted from our brief:

“This action is about climate change, protection of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon National Park, and a dam that is near the end of its useful life,” Save The Colorado and the co-plaintiffs wrote in their lawsuit, now awaiting trial in U.S. District Court in Arizona.

No matter how you stack it up, Glen Canyon Dam’s future is crumbling and we are right in the middle of the battle to restore and rewild the Colorado River through Glen and Grand Canyons!

Second, our Rights of Nature for Rivers program continues to make news and move ahead. The Town of Nederland is still fighting with a local mining company about pollution in Boulder Creek, and the Boulder Weekly noted our Rights of Nature for the Boulder Creek Watershed in the mix:

“As a community, Nederland is very environmentally conscious. This past summer the Board of Trustees passed Nederland’s “Rights of Nature for Middle Boulder Creek” policy, declaring that the creek itself has rights that need protecting. So, naturally, when the residents of Nederland learned that the mine above their town was violating state water quality standards, there was a sense of nervousness from some, outrage from others.”Boulder Weekly

Third, we’re excited to see our campaign about Dirty Hydropower continuing to gain steam and move forward. Working with our new partner, North American Megadam Resistance Alliance, we recently provided technical assistance to attorneys at Riverkeeper in New York who are working to protect the Hudson River from massive imports of Canadian hydropower. Riverkeeper gained significant national attention in Bloomberg News, which wrote:

“Riverkeeper said it turned against the project after evaluating research on emissions from hydropower dams owned by Hydro-Quebec, which will supply the power. Using water to spin turbines and generate electricity doesn’t produce air pollution. However, the vast reservoirs needed to store the water are often created by flooding areas covered in plants and trees; over time, all that organic material will decompose and create carbon emissions.” — Bloomberg News

Our national and international campaign educating the public and policymakers about the greenhouse gas emissions from dams and reservoirs — including hydropower — is going to take a big step forward in the coming weeks. It all started on the Colorado River with our investigations about GHG emissions from Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. Stay tuned for more information on that!

Finally, we’re going to have more news for you in the next week about our ongoing “no new dams and diversions” campaign on the Colorado River, as well as the federal government’s efforts to make a new management plan for the Colorado River. We are in the thick of all of it, all thanks to your support.

It’s your support that keeps us working hard — you can donate online by clicking here.

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