Today, the mighty Colorado was declared ‘America’s Most Endangered River’ by American Rivers, an advocacy organization. Limited water supply and growing populations– concerns throughout the state of Colorado and throughout the basin– spurred this listing. There is no question that the Colorado is an important river, but water issues are complex and integrate diverse perspectives. To help Coloradans better understand water use along the Upper Colorado, the Colorado Foundation for Water Education (CFWE) will lead two tours throughout the basin this summer, bringing in speakers from various backgrounds with numerous different perspectives.
“The Colorado River is the lifeline of the West,” says CFWE Executive Director Nicole Seltzer. “As a headwaters state, Colorado is unique–this tremendous river begins with us. We enjoy it, fight over it, use it and impact it as it winds across the landscape. Here, water is a scarce resource and the competition for that resource is going to get more and more difficult in the future.” The Basin Tours will draw attention to often contentious but increasingly cooperative issues by bringing in a range of experts to talk about the river.
Participants can tour the western portion of the Upper Colorado, which includes the Grand Valley area, May 30-31. This tour will focus on the relationship between agriculture and municipal water use, infrastructure projects and improvements, the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, riparian restoration, community engagement in water issues and more.
A separate headwaters tour will take place June 20-21, higher on the river. Participants will visit and learn about headwaters partnerships to promote healthy watersheds, cooperative agreements for water administration, water uses and recreational in-channel diversions as well as restoration projects that address river flows and mine remediation. Find out more about the topics covered and where the tours will take you each day online at www.yourwatercolorado.org.
Both tours will be attended by a diverse mix of state legislators, educators, engineers and attorneys. “Everybody needs to understand the implications of their water use on a personal and policy level,” Seltzer says, “This year the Colorado Basin tours are especially important. From tour participants to speakers, there are a lot of people who are interested in and passionate about the Colorado River.”
Read more about the Colorado River in the Colorado Basin issue of Headwaters magazine or through these blog posts: