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Colorado River

The Hardest Working River in America

Spanning 1,450 miles—beginning in northern Colorado, winding through the Utah desert, carving out the majestic Grand Canyon, and yearning to reach the sea—the Colorado River is essential to an entire region’s way of life. It powers homes and businesses, irrigates cropland, provides drinking water to 40 million people in seven states, and underpins countless hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Add drought and climate change to the mix, and the pressure on this river is almost unbearable.

Fortunately, there are ways for decision-makers to support conservation of water resources in the Colorado River Basin for future generations.

Legislative Solutions

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01

Investing in Infrastructure

Water infrastructure across the West is strained and needs federal investment to ensure we are using modern conservation practices to balance demands on the river. Efforts like the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program improve water delivery, efficiency, and reliability and reduce conflicts over water use. Legislation like the Water for Conservation and Farming Act and the STREAM Act make significant investments in drought preparedness and water storage, recycling, and desalination, which in turn sustains healthy habitat for fish and wildlife. As infrastructure legislation takes shape on Capitol Hill, hunters and anglers want to make sure building sustainable water systems is a priority.

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02

Combating Climate Change

The Basin has been in drought for all of the 21st Century. Rising temperatures and water scarcity affect cities, farms, and ranches as well as fish and wildlife. Not only do low streamflows translate into a loss of habitat and recreational opportunities, but this “hot drought” has also led to catastrophic wildfire seasons. Legislation like the Outdoor Restoration Partnership Act will build resiliency, improve forest health, and strengthen watersheds. Congress has also begun to ramp up investment in nature-based water infrastructure solutions that increase climate resilience by retaining water on the landscape and improving habitat. As policy solutions to combat climate change take center stage in Washington, the TRCP will be working to ensure land- and water-based solutions are included.

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Colorado river panorama

03

Fighting for the Farm Bill

Irrigating crops and pastures accounts for over three quarters of the water consumed in the Basin. Every five years, Congress passes a new Farm Bill, whose Conservation Title includes programs that invest in water conservation and help make agriculture more sustainable and drought resilient. For the Basin, the most important of these are the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The RCPP funds largescale watershed projects that combat drought and improve water quality, while EQIP works with individual agricultural producers to develop more sustainable irrigation and farming practices that reduce strain on water systems. Lawmakers should double the funding for these programs in the 2023 Farm Bill.

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Storytellers

Featured Voices
  • Charles Garcia
    Charles Garcia
    Denver, CO
    Home Waters
    Home Waters
    Fraser River
  • Jared Romero
    Jared Romero
    Denver, CO
    Home Waters
    Home Waters
    Colorado River
  • Suzy Weiser
    Suzy Weiser
    Navajo Dam, NM
    Home Waters
    Home Waters
    San Juan River
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Join Us

Hunters and anglers are in this together, and we know that collaborative solutions can provide relief for the strained Colorado River. Add your voice to the chorus of storytellers in the Basin, so we can make a difference.

News

Alex Funk Heads TRCP’s Clean Water Efforts at a Watershed Moment

Our new director of water resources and senior counsel shares how his work will support conservation across the Colorado River Basin, Chesapeake Bay watershed, and headwaters and wetlands nationwide.

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What Is Budget Reconciliation and How Can This Process Do More for Conservation?

Breaking down the budget process that will make or break the effort to secure once-in-a-generation investments in habitat.

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10 Strategies to Better Balance Water Supply Needs in a Drought-Stressed Colorado River Basin

The future of hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation businesses will rely on implementing these meaningful water conservation, habitat improvement, and agricultural practices.

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HOW YOU CAN HELP

CONSERVATION WORKS FOR AMERICA

As our nation rebounds from the COVID pandemic, policymakers are considering significant investments in infrastructure. Hunters and anglers see this as an opportunity to create conservation jobs, restore habitat, and boost fish and wildlife populations.

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