Colorado River

KVNF

On a warm August morning, a group of volunteers gathers in the high desert about 20 miles outside of Gunnison, Colorado. Here, surrounded by sagebrush and armed with branches and stones, they are ready to help restore a critical wildlife habitat.

Westwind Air Service / Unsplash

The U.S. senate’s energy subcommittee on water and power held a hearing in Washington DC Wednesday. They heard from water experts from several western states about ongoing drought conditions. 

The U.S. senate’s energy subcommittee on water and power held a hearing in Washington DC Wednesday about ongoing drought conditions. KUNC’s Alex Hager reports, they heard from water experts from several western states. 

Two major California water agencies have settled a lawsuit that once threatened to derail a multi-state agreement to protect the Colorado River.

survivethenews.com


Salt Lake City's mayor pursues a mask order for schools to slow the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant. History packets falsely claiming that “most slaves were generally treated kindly” in the United States get pulled from a Utah learning center. And a first-ever water shortage is declared for the Colorado River - casting doubt over planned water infrastructure projects.  

Judy Fahys/Inside Climate News


 The Colorado River is grappling with shortages this year. But it was a very different story nearly thirty years ago. High flows coming through a dam just upstream of the Grand Canyon were ripping it apart. 

Alex Hager/Aspen Public Radio

On a recent Saturday morning, volunteers assembled to carry out trail work and other restorative efforts within the burn scar.

When Water Is Scarce, Some Researchers Go Underground To Find Out Why

Apr 8, 2021
Alex Hager/Aspen Public Radio

When it comes to water in the West, a lot of it is visible. Snow stacks up high in the mountains then eventually melts and flows down into valleys. It’s easy to see how heavy rains and rushing rivers translate into an abundance of available water. But another important factor of water availability is much harder to see. 

Luke Runyon, KUNC

The Fort Yuma-Quechan Indian Tribe is situated at a nexus in the Colorado River Basin.

A Colorado River Showdown Is Looming. Let The Posturing Begin

Mar 29, 2021
Credit Luke Runyon, KUNC

A showdown is looming on the Colorado River. The river’s existing management guidelines are set to expire in 2026. The states that draw water from it are about to undertake a new round of negotiations over the river’s future, while it’s facing worsening dry conditions due in part to rising temperatures.

Erik Anderson, KPBS

California is spending more than $200 million to keep an unfolding ecological crisis from getting worse. The state wants to stabilize habitat along the southern bank of the Salton Sea, the state’s largest lake.

Luke Runyon/KUNC

Record-breaking wildfires in 2020 turned huge swaths of Western forests into barren burn scars. Those forests store winter snowpack that millions of people rely on for drinking and irrigation water. But with such large and wide-reaching fires, the science on the short-term and long-term effects to the region’s water supplies isn’t well understood. 

Courtesy AJ Carrillo, Deer Tree Farm

AJ Carrillo farms 18 acres outside of Hotchkiss, Colorado, in the high desert of the Western Slope about an hour southeast of Grand Junction.  When he irrigates his peach orchard, water gushes from big white plastic pipes at the top of the plot and takes half a day to trickle down to the other end of his five-acre orchard. 

Luke Runyon/KUNC

Dams throughout the watershed create barriers and alter flows that make life hard for native fish. Toss in 70 non-native fish species, rapidly growing invasive riparian plants and a slurry of pollutants, and the problem of endangered fish recovery becomes even more complex.

waterdesk.org / lighthawk.org

2020 has been a tough year for some of the Colorado River basin’s long-planned, most controversial water projects. 

Daniel Rayzel/KSJD

Traveling along western rivers can give a glimpse into the power of erosion.

In southwestern Colorado, that’s made clear by the canyons and floodplains shaped by the Dolores River as it travels to meet the Colorado River in eastern Utah. But you don’t need to be a longtime river rafter like Sam Carter to see some of the ways humans have tried to control erosion for their benefit.

Forecasting Water Levels Of The Colorado River

Oct 29, 2020
Pixabay

An interdisciplinary team of USU climate scientists, an agronomist, and a fire and forest ecologist have developed a new computer model that is an important step in forecasting water levels of the Colorado River several years into the future—enough time to help farmers and water resource managers predict and prepare for years when water will be scarce. 

National Park Service

What if I purchase an early season ski pass– will it pay off with good snow this winter? Yoshimitsu Chikamoto, a climate scientist at Utah State University Utah had an idea to use climate modeling to help him decide.

coyotegulch.blog

Eric Kuhn, retired General Manager of the Colorado River Water Conservancy District, will speak about his new book “Science Be Dammed.” The talk was held in ENGR 201 at 3:30p on Wednesday, October 2.

R Barth / USGS

John Wesley Powell is one of the iconic explorers of the American West. A teacher, botanist, geologist, and amputee, he is probably best known for his 1869 and 1871 explorations of the Colorado River.

Yale Environment 360

A recent article in the online magazine Yale Environment 360 is headlined “The West’s Great River Hits Its Limits: Will the Colorado Run Dry?” And the sub-headline: “As the Southwest faces rapid growth and unrelenting drought, the Colorado River is in crisis, with too many demands on its diminishing flow. Now those who depend on the river must confront the hard reality that their supply of Colorado water may be cut off.”

Yale Environment 360

A recent article in the online magazine Yale Environment 360 is headlined “The West’s Great River Hits Its Limits: Will the Colorado Run Dry?” And the sub-headline: “As the Southwest faces rapid growth and unrelenting drought, the Colorado River is in crisis, with too many demands on its diminishing flow. Now those who depend on the river must confront the hard reality that their supply of Colorado water may be cut off.”

Blue sky and red desert cliffs above a curved portion of river.
U.S. Geological Survey

  

The commissioner for the Federal Bureau of Reclamation recently called for renewed commitment to drought contingency plans from states using the Colorado River. The region has been in a sustained drought since 2000.

Earlier this month the Federal Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner, Brenda Burman, called on western states to work together on long-term solutions to address water shortages on the Colorado River.

Justin Pace

In June 2006 a wildfire on Navajo Mountain destroyed all vegetation resulting in debris and sediment contaminating Beaver Springs, the source of all water for the Navajo Mountain community.

Colorado River, a key water source in the western united states, is expected to flow at only half of it's average volume.
americanrivers.org

The first forecast of the year for Colorado River water supplies is a bleak one.

The river that serves as a key source of water for seven states including California, Colorado, Utah and Nevada is expected to flow at only about 54 percent of its average volume during the key runoff period from April to July.

The National Weather Service's Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City released a report Wednesday showing December snow totals as low as 20 percent of average in some areas.

On Sept. 27, officials from the United States and Mexico finalized Minute No. 323, an addition to the treaty that outlines how the two nations share water from the Colorado River.

usbr.gov

Straddling the Continental Divide at over ten thousand feet, the Colorado River begins as a trickle.  It gains tremendous power as it moves along its course, carving out formations like the Grand Canyon on its trek to the sea.  This river is among the largest in the southwest, and has become an emblem of wildness.