Top Colorado Water News: May 14–20


The debate over the future of the Colorado River Basin is, clearly, not new. But the Colorado Basin is garnering increasing national attention. Check out the latest on this highly contested waterway below. Missed the top water news last week? Get caught up here.

1. National Geographic Touches On the Colorado River Basin Situation
In a post written for NatGeo’s Water Currents blog last week, Jennifer Pitt of the Environmental Defense Fund highlighted the key controversy from an environmental POV:

To anyone concerned about the link between water and prosperity, the health of the region’s rivers should matter. We already know that Colorado River water is a valuable commodity for consumption, but do we know how valuable it is to the West to keep water in the river?

At least $26 billion a year for recreation purposes alone according to Protect The Flows, a coalition of businesses that depend on healthy flows for their well being.  A new report points to a $26 billion annual contribution to the region’s economy, and some quarter of a million jobs, originating in the rivers.  Those are big numbers, and the recreation industry hasn’t articulated their aggregated impact until now.

Read the rest of the post here or learn about the Colorado River Basin and the controversies surrounding it on Coyote Gulch’s excellent news roundup.

2. Denver Water and the Western Slope Ratify Friendship
Grand and Summit counties signed a deal on Tuesday, May 15, that will pave the way for the utility to increase its water holdings in Gross Reservoir in Roosevelt National Forest near Boulder, reported CBS News. The Colorado River Cooperative Agreement preserves water development programs in the mountains while quenching Denver’s thirst. What some are calling “historic” has been a long time in the works. Watch the CBS News report here.

3. Browns Are Biting on the Colorado
Even this early in the fishing season, Scott Willoughby of the Denver Post is already telling fishing tales. It may not be a scoop, but the fact that trout are biting is big news to Colorado’s fly-fishermen who, last year, were beached until July by late-season runoff. Yes, drought has serious drawbacks for anglers — especially as water temperatures rise in the late summer — but massive runoff, too, had some fly-fisherpeople concerned. Would the bug hatches reset? Would trout get washed away and not return? Nope, Willoughby says, “The water may be skinny, but the fish are plenty fat.” Read his account of fishing the Upper Colorado near Gypsum here. 

4. The Crystal River Listed as Country’s No. 8 Most Endangered River
And, finally, some not-so-great news: The Crystal River, which flows through Carbondale and into the Roaring Fork, has been called the eighth most endangered river in the United States by the nonprofit advocacy group American Rivers. Read the Aspen Times article here.

What news did we forgot? Comment on this post and let us know!

Photo credit: MoabAdventurer

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