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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

Jared Romero

Jared Romero

Denver, CO

Home Waters: Colorado River

Suzy Weiser

Suzy Weiser

Navajo Dam, NM

Home Waters: San Juan River

Charles Garcia

Charles Garcia

Denver, CO

Home Waters: Fraser River

Geo Romero

Geo Romero

Steamboat Springs, CO

Home Waters: Yampa River

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Get Involved

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.

News

Bipartisan Infrastructure Package Secures Major Conservation Investments

Representatives make the most of this opportunity to fund wildlife crossings, public land access, and natural infrastructure solutions that benefit habitat and American communities.

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Hunters and Anglers in Colorado Will Help Shape the Future of the West’s Water

Locally led water resource plans are being crafted in Colorado to help guide the future management of water.

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Five Impacts of Western Drought That Have Nothing to Do with Fish

When rivers and reservoirs drop, there are major consequences for anglers, but the ongoing megadrought could affect your hunting season, as well

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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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