Skip to content

Colorado Rivers Update: We’re Proud to Join a Coalition Pushing for REAL CHANGE on the Colorado River!

Hi Friends of the Colorado River,

Summer is here and the snow is nearly melted, which means the rivers are flowing fast. Get out there and enjoy, and be careful as well.

First and foremost, over the next 12 – 18 months, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is moving forward with its “Post-2026 Colorado River Operations” Environmental Impact Statement and we are deeply engage in the process. We are proud to join a coalition of environmental groups pushing for real change in how the river — and the two main reservoirs, Powell and Mead — are managed.

To that end, we are delighted to sign on to this coalition letter calling for Reclamation to include a “Modify Glen Canyon Dam” alternative in the EIS. The letter is posted here, and the coalition of groups include Glen Canyon Institute, Utah Rivers Council, Great Basin Water Network, Living Rivers, Save the Colorado, National Parks Conservation Association, Citizens for Biological Diversity, and Wild Earth Guardians.

As climate change intensifies, we argue that there’s no conceivable way to keep both huge reservoirs operating, and it makes sense to modify Glen Canyon Dam to allow water to freely flow through the Grand Canyon down to Mead Reservoir. The word “modify” can mean anything, of course, and our desire is to decommission the dam entirely. That said, we first have to start the conversation and get Reclamation moving in the right direction. In fact it was Reclamation itself that proposed and planned to “modify” the dam last year to address the threat of falling water levels in Powell Reservoir. This coalition has a shot at holding Reclamation’s feet to the fire and creating real change.

At the same time, we are continuing to refine our comments that we will insert into the EIS when the draft is released in the Fall. You can join us in calling for real change on the Colorado River by sending an email to Reclamation that will be included in the public record. The link to send an email is here:

Second, we’re proud to have recently expanded our campaign around opposing proposed new dams and diversions in the state of Colorado by intervening in state water court. In Grand County and Boulder County, we’re now engaged in four different water court processes during which we will try to steer the applicants towards more financially feasible and environmentally sustainable solutions as opposed to new dams and reservoirs.

In Grand County, we have intervened in the “Troublesome Project,” which proposes a medium-sized dam on Troublesome Creek which is headwaters to the Colorado River. In Boulder County, we have intervened against one proposed large dam on South St. Vrain Creek outside the town of Lyons. Also in Boulder County, we have intervened in the applications for new small dams by Eldora Ski Area and the Town of Nederland.

These water court process are not “litigation,” but offer a pathway to negotiate with applicants to find a better path forward before formal permit process are triggered that can take a decade or longer as well as cost massive amounts of money.

We appreciate your support in all of our work, and it’s solely your support that keeps us paddling downstream.

Please consider donating online here.

Thank you, and Happy Summer!

Back To Top