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Colorado River Update: Rights of Nature for Rivers is Going Up! Will Glen Canyon Dam Come Down?

Hi Friends of the Colorado River!

Thank you for all of your support! It’s your support that keeps us working hard, developing new programs, and racing forward to save the Colorado River.

First, we’ve been very active the last few weeks with our new “Rights of Nature” program for Colorado River basin rivers. Recall, we launched this new program a few weeks ago as a response to the growing concern about the Wall Street takeover of rivers and water in the Southwest U.S. Our Rights of Nature program will help EMPOWER local communities to create a new voice — and some new legal tools — to protect local water and rivers for people and non-human critters that need flowing rivers to survive and thrive.

So far, we’ve had great conversations with water- and river-protection advocates in Bluff and Moab Utah, and in Lyons, Denver, Vail, Fort Collins and Boulder Colorado! We’ve also heard from advocates in Steamboat Springs, Grand Junction, and Dolores Colorado about their interest in Rights of Nature for their local rivers.

Our “Rights of Nature” program is an ‘accelerator and incubator’ for local groups and people working to protect rivers. We’ve created a resource page on our website (click here) that provides videos, news articles, books, and connections to groups. More information is coming soon. If you’d like to discuss a Rights of Nature program for your local river, send us an email:  It’s exciting!

Please consider donating to support our new Rights of Nature program by clicking here.

Second, as our Rights of Nature program is moving up, there’s increasing discussion about Glen


Canyon Dam coming down. Former Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Dan Beard, and I penned a column in several Colorado newspapers titled, “Drain Lake Powell, Not Colorado Farms”. You can read the column in the Pagosa Daily Post here.

In the column, we point out the simple back-of-the-envelope math indicating that climate change will drain Lake Powell, and that it’s futile to try and save the Lake. Further, draining and drying up hundreds of thousands of farms in Colorado to try and save the Lake — as the State of Colorado is proposing to do right now — is a ridiculous idea that won’t work, has no money to support it, and is extremely controversial. It makes much more sense to let Lake Powell die because it’s a doomed dam and reservoir that never should have been built in the first place.

In addition, we’re not the only group pointing out the extreme tradeoffs that trying to save Lake Powell will require. Two weeks ago, the Colorado River Studies program at Utah State University released a long scientific study also indicating that dramatic cutbacks in water use across the Southwest U.S. would be required to save Lake Powell.

Further, the study also supports our policy of “No New Dams and Diversions” in the Colorado River basin as the only sensible path forward for management of the river system. A summary of the study is posted here on John Fleck’s blog site. The article should be widely read by everyone interested in the future of the Colorado River.

If you think BIG IDEAS like tearing down Glen Canyon Dam can never move forward, consider that two weeks ago a Republican member of Congress from Idaho proposed funding and tearing down all four large dams on the Snake River in the Northwest U.S.! See the news story here. It’s a steady drumbeat, over years and decades, of common sense, science, and passion that moves Big Ideas forward. That’s what we do!

We are working hard to protect the river, empower local communities, and chart a sensible science-based path for the future. Thank you for your support!

Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Colorado



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