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Colorado River Update: Trump’s First Week In Office (WOW)

Hi Amazing Friends of the Colorado River!

First, in these amazingly crazy times, it’s important for all of us — and especially a non-profit group like Save The Colorado — to make sure we are laser-focusing on our mission, which is to protect and restore the Colorado River and its tributaries.

To that end, it has been an earth-shaking week across the U.S. and the World as Donald Trump took power as President of the U.S. You can’t look at the news, or at any social media outlet, without being inundated with stories. Here at Save The Colorado, we’ve been laser-focusing on the issues that impact the ecological health of the Colorado River. Here’s what we are keeping track of:

  • Trump’s relations with Mexico have fallen into chaos, and so how will that impact the negotiations to restore water to the Colorado River Delta in Mexico?
  • In the context of dam removal on the Klamath River, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke, has recently allegedly made the statement, ” ‘We don’t pull down dams, we put ‘em up.’”
  • Trump named his Top 50 infrastructure projects, and they don’t include any dams or projects that would impact the flow of water in the Colorado River.
  • The federal agencies that deal with dam permits all seem to be working at a standstill. We are continue to monitor the activities of the Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Bureau of Reclamation.
  • Trump appears to have frozen certain funding options for the EPA — these actions may impact water quality and monitoring related to the health of the Colorado River.
  • Trump’s freezing of the communication and social media systems for the National Parks and other federal agencies may impact how those agencies respond to the public and media about threats to the Colorado River.
  • All references to “climate change” were deleted from the Whitehouse website the minute Trump was sworn into office.
  • Congress is talking about gutting the Endangered Species Act, but so far there’s been very little public talk about the National Environmental Policy Act or the Clean Water Act. No bills have yet to be introduced that would impact the federal laws around dam permitting.
  • Bills that would attack public lands in the Colorado River basin — including dramatically ramping up fossil fuel extraction — are being discussed by members of Congress.

So, with all the chaos, we want you to know that we are keeping a very close track of what’s going on and exactly how it may impact the Colorado River and our mission. That’s what we do with a laser focus. We will keep you in the loop as any or all of these issues change.

Second, we’ve joined forces with the international Waterkeeper Alliance to launch the “Colorado River Waterkeeper Network!” The Waterkeeper Alliance is the fastest-growing and strongest water protection organization in the world. We are delighted to start working with the Alliance to create more Waterkeeper organizations in the Colorado River basin. We believe every tributary to the Colorado River should have a Waterkeeper on it that is working to keep the rivers and streams clean, healthy, and free flowing. Thirteen Waterkeepers currently patrol the waters in and around the Colorado River basin, but there are dozens of tributaries that need protection. We are joining forces with the Colorado Riverkeeper in Moab, UT, to launch and administer this network. Take a look at our website here to learn more about the Network and our plans for growth in the Colorado River basin.

Third, we are super excited to welcome Terry Odendahl to our Board of Directors. Terry is the President and CEO of Global Greengrants Fund, an Teresa Odendahlinternational philanthropy based in Boulder, CO. Terry has decades of experience in the philanthropic world, is the Co-Chair of the “Edge Funders Alliance,” and has been a former faculty member at Yale University and the University of California at San Diego. Terry is leading Global Greengrants to expand its support for women-led solutions to environmental issues. Last week, Terry wrote a piece for Ms. Magazine about joining the Women’s March in D.C. — read it here: “Marching On For Women’s Rights and Climate Justice.” Terry has also joined Save The Colorado on our two Colorado River raft trips in 2015 and 2016. When she’s not traveling the world, Terry enjoys spending time with her two adult daughters and gardening at her home in Lyons, Colorado.

Thank you for all of your amazing support. We are working hard, and always appreciate your financial support to keep ensuring our mission (you can donate by clicking here! :-)!

For the Health of the Colorado River,

Gary Wockner, PhD, Executive Director, Save The Colorado


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