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Save The Colorado Campaign Awards AW (CO)

Posted: 09/14/2010
By: Nathan Fey

Fort Collins, CO – The Save the Colorado River Campaign Fund announced its grants for 2010. In total, $150,000 was donated to ten environmental groups from the top of the river basin all the way to the bottom – all working to protect and restore the Colorado River.

The Upper Colorado River is one of the “Most Endangered Rivers in America” at the top of the basin in Colorado; the river is drained completely dry at the bottom near the Arizona/Mexico border; and in between, the river is so depleted that water and electricity
supplies are threatened for the entire Southwest U.S. “The status quo is no longer working,” said Gary Wockner, Campaign Coordinator for the Save the Colorado Campaign. “The river is nearing a complete crisis, which may also be an economic crisis for the Southwest U.S.


Through the Campaign Fund’s granting efforts, we are trying to support innovative projects and stimulate new activism all along the basin to help keep the river alive.”
The Save the Colorado Campaign Fund made a grant to the Glen Canyon Institute in Utah for its “Fill Lake Mead First” project, an innovative effort to address the dwindling water levels in both Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The effort may also provide more stable water supplies to Nevada, Arizona, and Southern California.

“The total amount of water in those combined reservoirs continues to drop with no end in sight,” said Wockner. “We are excited to invest in the ‘Fill Lake Mead First’ project as a provocative new idea that may help stave off a dire economic situation in the Southwest as well as potentially restore parts of Glen Canyon on the Colorado River.”

At the bottom of the basin, the Fund supported an effort by San Diego Coastkeeper to recycle wastewater and turn it into city drinking water. The water recycling effort, called “Indirect Potable Reuse,” could help decrease the demand for Colorado River water by the City of San Diego.


At the top of the basin, the Fund donated to the Colorado Environmental Coalition – which includes partner efforts with Trout Unlimited and Western Resource Advocates – to address the threat of new dams and reservoirs which have given the Upper Colorado River the dubious distinction of being named one of the “Most Endangered Rivers in America” for 2010. The Coalition’s “Colorado River Protection Campaign” will aggressively promote water conservation in Denver and Front Range cities as an alternative water supply source.

Additional funding went to:
- American Whitewater to protect streamflows, and thus boating opportunities, in the Upper Colorado River.
- Grand Canyon Trust to protect the Colorado River flowing through one of America’s crown jewels, Grand Canyon National Park.
- Citizens for Dixie’s Future in Utah to address the threat of the Lake Powell Pipeline which will drain even more water from the Colorado River.
- Sheep Mountain Alliance in Colorado to protect stream flows and water rights on a tributary of the Colorado River.
- Sonoran Institute of Tucson to try to create an instream flow program for the Colorado River Delta.
- Earthjustice, the environmental law firm in Denver, which is working to protect river flows
throughout the basin.

Finally, the Fund supported one of the American Southwest’s newest and most provocative explorers, Jon Waterman, who was the first person in history to paddle the entire length of the Colorado River from its source in Rocky Mountain National Park to the Sea of Cortez, all 1,450 miles. Jon has a new book out – Running Dry: A Journey From Source to Sea Down the Colorado River – and an extraordinary slideshow chronicling his journey. Jon is funded for a “Guerilla Lecture Tour” of the American West to help educate the public about the imperiled state of the river. (To schedule a lecture in your town, please contact Jon at:

“The Colorado River is in dire straits,” said Wockner. “But we are extremely lucky to have all of these groups and people working throughout the basin. We are proud to support them and their work.”

The Save the Colorado River Campaign is led by New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado. The Campaign Fund is further supported by donations from Patagonia, Clif Bar & Company, Kenney Brothers Foundation, National Geographic, Environment Now, The Environment Foundation, and OARS.


Save the Colorado is a Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, a 501c3 charitable organization.

Colorado Stewardship Director

Nathan Fey

1601 Longs Peak Ave.

Longmont, CO 80501

Phone: 303-859-8601
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Associated Projects

Colorado SWSI (CO)

Colorado's Statewide Water Supply Initiative may very well determine the fate of Colorado's whitewater rivers by dictating how much water can be removed from rivers to serve a growing population.

Upper Colorado River (CO)

American Whitewater is working with various stakeholders to develop a resource management plan for the BLM, as an alternative to "Wild and Scenic River" management.

Associated Gauges

Disclaimer Data Sources
Gage Reading Last Updated
COLORADO RIVER NEAR DOTSERO, CO (AW#4149) 1940 cfs 01h07m
COLORADO RIVER NEAR DOTSERO, CO (AW#4149) 3.36 ft 01h07m
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