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HEADWATERS | Summer 2011 Currents by Nicole Seltzer..........................................................................................................1 CFWE News...........................................................................................................................2 Watermarks by Jayla Poppleton.................................................................................................3

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

At a Glance: The Colorado River Mainstem Basin .............................................................4

1580 Logan St., Suite 410 •  Denver, CO 80203 303-377-4433 • www.cfwe.org

The Colorado: Our Namesake Working River by George Sibley..............................................7

Board Members

Phoning for Flows by Allen Best.............................................................................................11 In a system where timing is everything, reservoir operators and water managers work behind the scenes to tweak flows for fish East-West Peace Pact by Jayla Poppleton..............................................................................16 Keeping it Clean by Jerd Smith...............................................................................................18 Protecting and enhancing water quality on the Colorado

Rita Crumpton President

Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr. 1st Vice President

Taylor Hawes

2nd Vice President

Callie Hendrickson Secretary

The Coveted Colorado by Jerd Smith......................................................................................22 In the Rocky Mountain state, where most water is already claimed, the Colorado River carries the last reserves of the life-giving liquid. But how much can safely be developed and at what cost?

Reagan Waskom

The Larger Basin by Jerd Smith..............................................................................................26 Bound for the delta, through seven states and Mexico

Assistant Treasurer

Watered-Down River by Wendy Worrall Redal........................................................................28 Joy Ride by Joshua Zaffos........................................................................................................32 Beauty sets the stage for an economy based on outdoor play, water fuels the fun 2011 President’s Award & Emerging Leader Award.........................................................36 Cover photo by Kevin Moloney.

About the authors… George Sibley is a freelance writer and 40-year resident of the Gunnison River Basin, neighbor to the Colorado River mainstem. His essays and articles have appeared in publications including Harper’s Magazine, Mountain Gazette, High Country News and Colorado Central. He is currently working on a history of the Colorado River Water Conservation District. Working on this story reminded him how much can happen along a river that goes from high mountains to high desert in only a few hundred miles. While living and working for more than 20 years in towns from Granby to Vail to Glenwood Springs, Allen Best got to know the Colorado River headwaters very well. For this assignment, he further broadened his horizons in the direction of Grand Valley irrigation as well as the recovery program for endangered fish. Even more than before, he now understands that many hands rest on the plumbing valves of the Colorado River. From a home in Arvada, he writes for local, state and national publications about water, energy and other natural resource issues. Based in Boulder, Jerd Smith is a freelance writer and editor with an interest in water issues. She has won numerous awards, including Stanford University’s Risser Prize for environmental reporting. Of researching these stories on the Colorado River, Jerd says, “I was struck once again by the fierce political and environmental forces that continually reshape this river and how, even with its vast influence and power, the river at its heart is fragile.” Wendy Worrall Redal is a freelance writer and editor based in Boulder, where she has also taught courses in environmental media studies at the University of Colorado. She writes regularly about wildlife, natural resources, conservation and sustainable travel. After reporting this story, Wendy says, “I have a deeper appreciation for the complexities of managing a scarce resource like the Colorado River. Ecology and economics often collide, and the people of Colorado have common interests with regard to both. I hope we’ll do right by the river that serves us in so many ways.” Joshua Zaffos is a Fort Collins-based freelance writer who reports on the environment, science and politics. His work has appeared in High Country News, Wired, Miller-McCune and Grist, and he reports on green business and technology for the Northern Colorado Business Report. “Writing about Colorado River recreation doesn’t quite compare to past experiences of navigating Shoshone Rapids in an inflatable kayak or wobbling down a run at Vail,” says Josh, “but reporting on the different uses and needs is its own adventure—and a reminder that the river courses through so many different aspects of our state.”

Assistant Secretary

Alan Hamel Treasurer

Chris Rowe

Becky Brooks Steve Fearn Jennifer Gimbel Alan Matlosz Trina McGuire-Collier Rebecca Mitchell Reed Morris Chris Piper Rick Sackbauer Robert Sakata Sen. Gail Schwartz Travis Smith Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg Chris Treese Steve Vandiver

Staff

Nicole Seltzer Executive Director

David Harper Office Manager

Kristin Maharg Education Program Associate

Caitlin Coleman OSM/VISTA Communications Coordinator

Mission Statement The mission of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education is to promote better understanding of water resources through education and information. The Foundation does not take an advocacy position on any water issue.

Acknowledgments The Colorado Foundation for Water Education thanks the people and organizations who provided review, comment and assistance in the development of this issue. Headwaters is a magazine designed to provide Colorado citizens with balanced and accurate information on a variety of subjects related to water resources. Copyright 2011 by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. ISSN: 15460584 Edited by Jayla Poppleton. Designed by Emmett Jordan.

Profile for Water Education Colorado

Headwaters Summer 2011: The Mighty Colorado  

As the Colorado River flows through its seven-state, canyon carving traverse, it is tapped and retapped-- supporting acres of irrigated agri...

Headwaters Summer 2011: The Mighty Colorado  

As the Colorado River flows through its seven-state, canyon carving traverse, it is tapped and retapped-- supporting acres of irrigated agri...

Profile for cfwe