American Rivers and Google Maps launch Colorado River Street View to spotlight endangered river

March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014


(Washington, DC) – The Colorado River is the focus of a new Google Maps Street View project launched today in partnership with American Rivers. The imagery features the iconic Grand Canyon and marks the first time Google Maps has used the Street View technology on a major whitewater river in the U.S.

The project brings renewed attention to the wonder and beauty of the Grand Canyon, as well as the challenges facing the Colorado River’s health.  American Rivers named the Colorado River America’s Most Endangered River® in 2013 because of the threat of outdated water management, over-allocation and persistent drought.

Supported by the outfitter Arizona River Runners, American Rivers staff joined Google Maps on an eight-day float through the Grand Canyon in August 2013 to capture the river imagery. The Street View camera, on a special mount built for the raft, captured a full 360-degree photo sphere every few seconds. This allows users to “join the raft” and explore 286 miles of the river, from Lee’s Ferry to Pearce Ferry. Members of the team also wore the Street View Trekker camera to capture five popular side hikes, including the trail to the Nankoweap Granaries with a dramatic view overlooking the river.

“We are excited to work with Google Maps to highlight the Grand Canyon, one of our country’s crown jewels,” said Chris Williams, senior vice president for conservation at American Rivers, and a participant on the trip. “From the towering red rock walls to the thrilling rapids, the Street View project captures the magic of this special place. We hope this project inspires people to take action to protect and restore the Colorado River.”

“Making Street View imagery available of the Colorado River is a tremendous opportunity for us to drive interest for this historical and natural landmark,” said Karin Tuxen-Bettman, Project Lead for Colorado River Street View. “We hope this inspires viewers to take an active interest in preserving it.”

In conjunction with the release of the Colorado River Street View imagery on Google Maps, American Rivers called on President Obama and Congress to support federal programs that assist cities and farms in getting smarter about managing their water supplies.

Thirty-six million people from Denver to Los Angeles drink Colorado River water. The river irrigates nearly four million acres of land, which grows 15 percent of the nation’s crops. Over-allocation and drought have placed significant stress on water supplies and river health, and the basin is facing another drought this summer. Lower river flows threaten endangered fish and wildlife, along with the $26 billion dollar recreation economy that relies on the Colorado River.

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About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 250,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

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