On October 18th, American Whitewater staff attended the Department of Interior's Partnership in Conservation Award Ceremony in Washington D.C. American Whitewater, along with other entities from the seven-state Colorado River basin, were given the Partnership award for our work on the US Bureau of Reclamation's Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study.
The Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study is a model for future watershed planning across the Country. As an unprecidented joint effort between the Bureau of Reclamation and the seven states of the basin (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming), it is a critical first step to establish a common factual and technical foundation for resolving future water supply and demand imbalances. The Study is the most comprehensive basin-wide analysis ever undertaken by Interior. The Partnership was nominated for the Award by Assistant Secretary of Water and Science, Anne Castle.
Conducted in collaboration with stakeholders throughout the Basin, including tribes, agricultural users, municipal water providers, power users, and conservation groups such as AW, the Study will serve as the basis for planning for future growth and climate change in the Colorado River Basin and as an example of watershed collaboration for decades to come.
The Basin Study Program is part of the Department of Interior's WaterSMART initiative, which authorizes Interior agencies to work with state and local water managers to plan for climate change and other threats to water supplies, and to take action to secure water resources for communities, economies, and the ecosystems they support.
American Whitewater's Colorado River Stewardship Director, Nathan Fey, worked with the Bureau of Reclamation to define streamflows across the Colorado River basin that support whitewater recreation. Thanks to the volunteer participation of hundreds of paddlers in our Flow-Evaluation Study, American Whitewater was able to report acceptable and optimal flows on 17 major river segments in the Colorado River basin - including the San Juan, Green, Yampa, Dolores, and Gunnison Rivers. American Whitewater worked with BOR and our consultants at Hydros, to develop a method of assessing the impact to whitewater boating from future water management scenarios, and climate change. This is precident setting stuff, and our staff worked hard to make sure that representatives from all 7 states understood and supported the input and opinions of our members, and our science-based methodology.
For our exceptional contributions toward conserving and sustaining the natural resources of the Colorado River system, which is relied upon by 22 tribes, 7 National Wildlife Refuges, 4 National Recreation Areas, 11 National Parks and more than 30 million people, American Whitewater and our stakeholders were awarded the U.S. Department of the Interior Partners in Conservation Award. This is a great honor for AW, and we are honored to share this recognition with our members and the hundreds of volunteers who participated in our Flow- Evaluation Study.