#6 Upper Colorado River, Colorado
Threat: Water diversions
The Upper Colorado River and its tributaries are home to prized trout fisheries, whitewater recreation and wildlife, drawing anglers and paddlers from across the country.
However, more than 100 years of water diversions have drained the river to dangerously low levels. If two new major proposed water withdrawal projects move ahead without adequate protections, the river may no longer be able to sustain the values Coloradoans prize so highly.
The Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which are currently assessing these projects, should require conservation and efficiency measures before allowing additional water withdrawals.
The regulatory agencies, conservation interests, and people of Colorado must insist that the water projects contain key protections for river health. With appropriate foresight and consideration for the long-term protection of the river’s health, we can usher in a new era of stewardship and recovery for the Upper Colorado.