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.
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Home Waters: Colorado River
Navajo Dam, NM
Home Waters: San Juan River
Home Waters: Fraser River
Steamboat Springs, CO
Home Waters: Yampa River
Hunters and anglers are in this together, and we know that collaborative solutions can provide relief for the strained Colorado River. Sign our open letter to support five conservation priorities that will safeguard hunting and fishing in this important watershed.
Representatives make the most of this opportunity to fund wildlife crossings, public land access, and natural infrastructure solutions that benefit habitat and American communities.Read More
Locally led water resource plans are being crafted in Colorado to help guide the future management of water.Read More
When rivers and reservoirs drop, there are major consequences for anglers, but the ongoing megadrought could affect your hunting season, as wellRead More
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.Learn More