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Colorado River Update: Human Hubris Exposed At Glen Canyon Dam

Hi Friends of the Colorado River,

First, we continue to make the news! Last Sunday, the Arizona Daily Star ran a long and interesting story about the chaos unfolding at Glen Canyon Dam due to shrinking water levels in the Colorado River. The Bureau of Reclamation is studying how to get water around, or through, the dam and is considering boring holes to allow the water to pass while also putting new hydroelectric turbines in the new holes.

To us, it looks like a last-ditch effort to save the hydropower plant at this doomed dam, or even a ‘hail mary’.

The Bureau’s options all seem to cost hundreds-of-millions, if not a few billion dollars. We don’t believe the dam can be “fixed”.

I told the AZ Daily Star, “That they are considering tunneling around or through Glen Canyon Dam is a really big deal and a paradigm shift. That dam has been there for almost 60 years; and it was heralded at the time and really ever since then as sort of a monument of man’s ingenuity, of his domination over nature in the Colorado River, and now it is point blank, loud and clear that man has dramatically overstepped his role in controlling nature.”

It’s Save The Colorado’s position that Glen Canyon Dam should be decommissioned and all effort should focus on saving Lake Mead downstream of the Grand Canyon. The Bureau’s concepts to save hydropower at Glen Canyon Dam are short-term band-aids that deny the existence of climate change as well as deny that climate change will get worse. We’ll continue our drumbeat advocating for consequential systemic change rather than incremental band-aids.

Second, sometimes the work of environmental organizations takes years to come to fruition. Over 3 years ago, one of our volunteers, Art Hirsch, took on the near-impossible task of addressing the pollution in Boulder Creek in Boulder, Colorado.

The City of Boulder, as well as our own testing, indicated that Boulder Creek was polluted with E coli, which is a bacteria that can make people very sick. In the summer, the Creek is heavily used and visited by young people cooling off in the water, as well as tubers and children playing in the Creek and the surrounding parks.

The stormwater outfalls below the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU), appeared to be the source of the E coli, but at the time CU ignored our attempts to hold them accountable. In response we contacted the State of Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Finally, 3 years later, CDPHE is now requiring CU to monitor the pollution in its stormwater system as well as Boulder Creek that flows below the campus.

This is Good News, and hats off to Art Hirsch for his determination to protect the water quality in Boulder Creek! The Boulder Daily Camera ran the story on its front page last weekend.

You can check out more about our “Protect Boulder Creek” program on our website by clicking here.

It’s your financial support that keeps us working hard year after year.

You can donate online by clicking here.

Thank you for your support!

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