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New Project: The Impacts of Climate Change and Water Supply Management on Fish in the Colorado River

New Project: The Impacts of Climate Change and Water Supply Management on Fish in the Colorado River

04/06/2020

The Colorado River and its major tributaries provide a crucial water supply for more than 40 million people in the American Southwest and in California. This water supply is primarily used in irrigated agriculture but also provides essential drinking wate...

New Research: Channel narrowing by inset floodplain formation of the lower Green River in the Canyonlands region, Utah

New Research: Channel narrowing by inset floodplain formation of the lower Green River in the Canyonlands region, Utah

03/27/2020

The lower Green River episodically narrowed between the mid-1930s and present day through deposition of new floodplains within a wider channel that had been established and/or maintained during the early twentieth century pluvial period. Comparison of air...

Western Area Power Authority Presentation to CCRS Students

Western Area Power Authority Presentation to CCRS Students

03/11/2020

Representatives Brent Osiek (Power Marketing Manager) and Clayton Palmer (Environmental Specialist) made a presentation to students of the Large River Management Class taught by Jack Schmidt and David Rosenberg on March 10, 2020. The gave the basics of WA...

Colorado River Science: Moab -- The Colorado River: How will states manage a drier future?

Colorado River Science: Moab -- The Colorado River: How will states manage a drier future?

03/09/2020

“We can’t talk about the future of this reservoir and how its managed unless we digest some basic facts,” said Dr. Jack Schmidt, professor of watershed sciences at Utah State University, at the presentation, before he and others gave an overview of the re...

Climate Change Reducing Colorado River Runoff

Climate Change Reducing Colorado River Runoff

02/25/2020

“The political agreement is about how to share the pain of drought," said Jack Schmidt. "The renegotiation of that pain is supposed to begin sometime in 2020, and has to be concluded by 2025. The game that is played is that we have a hierarchy of treaties...

New White Paper: Strategies for Managing the Colorado River in an Uncertain Future

New White Paper: Strategies for Managing the Colorado River in an Uncertain Future

02/12/2020

Colorado River stakeholders face many uncertainties—issues like climate change, future water demand, and evolving ecological priorities—and are looking for new tools to help cope. Managers and stakeholders need ways to help classify uncertain conditions, ...

New White Paper: Water Resource Modeling of the Colorado River: Present and Future Strategies

New White Paper: Water Resource Modeling of the Colorado River: Present and Future Strategies

12/19/2019

Now available, a new white paper from the Center for Colorado River Studies on Water Resource Modeling of the Colorado River by Kevin Wheeler, Jack Schmidt and David Rosenberg. This white paper is the first of a series of papers to be produced by the Fut...

Research Brief: Sedimentation of Lake Powell Tributary Canyons, 1959-2017

Research Brief: Sedimentation of Lake Powell Tributary Canyons, 1959-2017

12/19/2019

Understanding the volume of accumulated sediment present in the inundated mouths of tributary canyons of Lake Powell is an essential first step for estimation of whether, and over what time period, sediment deposits may be evacuated. We analyzed topograph...

Featured Paper: The Risk of Curtailment under the Colorado River Compact

Featured Paper: The Risk of Curtailment under the Colorado River Compact

12/02/2019

A new report from Anne Castle and John Fleck indicates that declines in the Colorado River’s flow could force water curtailments in coming decades, posing a credible risk to Colorado communities and requiring serious consideration of insurance protection ...

Meet CCRS Graduate Student Luke Gommermann

Meet CCRS Graduate Student Luke Gommermann

11/30/2019

Luke Gommermann is a first responder, of sorts. For the past several years he has kept careful tabs on vital signs in national parks as part of the Northern Colorado Plateau Network (NCPN). He counted plants, tested soils, probed for invasive species, and...

New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users

New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users

11/20/2019

Declining flows in the Colorado River could force Southwest water managers to confront long-standing legal uncertainties, and threaten the water security of Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico, according to a new analysis.

Historically Left Out, Colorado River Tribes Call For More Sway In Western Water Talks

Historically Left Out, Colorado River Tribes Call For More Sway In Western Water Talks

11/13/2019

Arizona’s portion of the Drought Contingency Plan became a unique example in the basin of tribal leaders asserting themselves in broader discussions about the river’s management. With the drought plan done, some tribal leaders say their water rights can’t...

Tricky trade-offs transitioning from fossil fuels.

Tricky trade-offs transitioning from fossil fuels.

11/01/2019

A rapid shift away from fossil fuels creates “green vs. green trade-offs,” exemplified by the recent trend of proposed hydropower dams. Such projects destroy waterways and harm ecosystems — but they could also help purge the grid of fossil fuels.

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10/16/2019

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Environmentalists push for removing dam along Colorado River

Environmentalists push for removing dam along Colorado River

10/03/2019

Some environmental groups point out climate change will lead to such scarcity of river water that Glen Canyon could become inoperable. Aside from wanting the dam’s 2016 operating plan to be revised, they want to force a discussion on draining Lake Powell ...

Eric Kuhn on UPR

Eric Kuhn on UPR

10/02/2019

Kuhn’s book, cowritten with John Fleck, examines one of the long held myths of the Colorado River. This myth is that the unusually wet runoff conditions of the early 20th century were not well understood by those who negotiated the Colorado River Compact....

Eric Kuhn Lecture

Eric Kuhn Lecture

10/01/2019

Science be Dammed: how ignoring inconvenient science drained the Colorado River on October 2, 3:30 pm in ENGR 201. From his new book, Eric Kuhn discusses the management and mismanagement of water in the west. Even with clear evidence that the Colorado Ri...

Water in the Western US Course

Water in the Western US Course

09/30/2019

This course combines an overview of the science behind water and climate in the Western United States with a survey of the major legal, political, and cultural issues focused on this precious resource. A free course (to audit) offered through the Universi...

From Sustainable Waters: Growing Water

From Sustainable Waters: Growing Water

09/30/2019

Since 2000, total consumptive use by all water users – cities, farms, industries – has been 20% greater than the total flow of the river, on average. In 2002, the volume consumed was twice the entire flow of the river (this was physically possible only be...

Colorado River Science: Escalante

Colorado River Science: Escalante

09/19/2019

The Center for Colorado River is partnering with the Escalante Canyons Festival to bring a slate of speakers to cover the art, science, and politics of the Colorado River system. Most presentations are held at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center and ...

One River, Many Voices: A Source to Sea Expedition

One River, Many Voices: A Source to Sea Expedition

09/01/2019

Join us for our next installment of Colorado River Science: Moab. We've partnered with the Moab Festival of Science to have a conversation with Mike and Jenny Fiebig about their fall 2018 boating tour from the Wind River Range down to Mexico, and to hear ...

How does a stream gage work?

How does a stream gage work?

08/15/2019

Information on the flow of rivers and streams is a vital asset that safeguards lives, protects property, and ensures adequate water supplies for the future. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) operates a network of more than 9,000 stream gages nationwide. I...

Colorado River Science: recent presentation from Vic Baker

Colorado River Science: recent presentation from Vic Baker

06/28/2019

Read perspective about Vic Baker's recent presentation on the great floods of the Colorado as part of the Colorado River Science speaker series. Panelist Eric Kuhn writes that if it has happened in the past, it can happen again.

Biologists blitz Lake Powell as water recedes

Biologists blitz Lake Powell as water recedes

06/01/2019

What Glen Canyon once was is slowly starting to come back. At Lake Powell’s high water mark, which hasn’t been under water in over 20 years, dozens of plants, insects and wildlife have been gradually settling back in. Because of continued demand for water...

From CRRG: Thinking about Risk on the Colorado River

From CRRG: Thinking about Risk on the Colorado River

05/31/2019

Managers, scientists, and stakeholders identified key research needs in the basin. One of the most prominent themes that emerged from discussions was the need to better understand how the river system is vulnerable to low‐probability, high‐impact events t...

Boatman's Beta: Third Experimental Flow at Glen Canyon Dam

Boatman's Beta: Third Experimental Flow at Glen Canyon Dam

05/30/2019

The Department of the Interior is conducting the third experimental flow at Glen Canyon Dam since implementing its Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan (LTEMP). The goal is to provide enhanced habitat for the lifecycle of aquatic insects that are th...

Amid drought, Phoenix plans for a future with less water

Amid drought, Phoenix plans for a future with less water

05/28/2019

As the Colorado River’s flow declines, water supplies in seven states are imperiled by potential shortages. That includes Arizona, which passed legislation outlining steps it would take if water from the river continues to decrease. But what does a water ...

In EOS: Green and Grand: John Wesley Powell and the West That Wasn’t

In EOS: Green and Grand: John Wesley Powell and the West That Wasn’t

05/24/2019

One hundred fifty years ago, John Wesley Powell argued that the West needed smart development. Now the fast-growing region is playing catch-up. The American West, while steeped in mythology, is also a region that depends heavily on science for its long-te...

States sign short-term Colorado River drought plan

States sign short-term Colorado River drought plan

05/21/2019

The Colorado River just got a boost that’s likely to prevent its depleted reservoirs from bottoming out, at least for the next several years. Representatives of seven Western states and the federal government signed a landmark deal on Monday laying out po...

USU Today: Politics, Power and Rivers - Historic Mining in the Rural West

USU Today: Politics, Power and Rivers - Historic Mining in the Rural West

05/07/2019

When one considers the historic harm done by mining operations to rivers in the West, it is tempting to speculate—if people then could only understand what is known about how river systems work … could one have avoided decades of ecological upheaval and d...

In Bond Buyer: Utilities tighten valves under Colorado River drought plan

In Bond Buyer: Utilities tighten valves under Colorado River drought plan

04/29/2019

"Now that the agreement’s been signed, everybody’s looking at augmentation,” said Paul Orme, a water rights specialist at the Arizona law firm Salmon Lewis & Weldon who served on a steering committee for the state. “I can certainly see a role for municipa...

April in the Field

April in the Field

04/15/2019

Students from the Center for Colorado River Studies headed to the field in April, 2019 to get in-person experience on the river. The USU class called "River Planning and Management" is a collaborative course for water resources and engineering students. T...

Center Applauds New Study to Measure Powell Evaporation

Center Applauds New Study to Measure Powell Evaporation

04/10/2019

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Desert Research Institute are working to better understand evaporation rates at Lake Powell, one of the key recommendations from the 2016 “Fill Mead First” report from the Center for Colorado River Studies.

High Country News April 2019

High Country News April 2019

04/04/2019

“The urgency is real because our system is stressed by warmer temperatures,” Colorado’s lead water official, James Eklund, told the House Natural Resources Committee last week. “When water resources are stressed in any river basin, our environments and pe...

Colorado River Science: Moab -- Jonathan Thompson

Colorado River Science: Moab -- Jonathan Thompson

04/01/2019

When you consider the historic harm done by mining operations to rivers in the West, it is tempting to speculate—if people then could only understand what we know now about how river systems work … could we have avoided decades of ecological upheaval and ...

The Future of the Colorado River Symposium

The Future of the Colorado River Symposium

01/28/2019

On October 13, 2018 we asked national experts -- can you rehabilitate a stressed river ecosystem and still meet the water needs of 40 million people? Find out what they said.

As Utah dries up, lawmakers look for smarter ways to transfer, use — and not use — water

As Utah dries up, lawmakers look for smarter ways to transfer, use — and not use — water

01/28/2019

Will Utah have sufficient water in an era of declining stream flows to support a population expected to double, strong agriculture, recreation economies and a healthy environment? While that sounds like having your Diet Coke and drinking it, too, water po...

SL Trib: Lake Powell could become a ‘dead pool’

SL Trib: Lake Powell could become a ‘dead pool’

01/22/2019

Bullfrog Marina • Ever since the Colorado River began filling Utah’s Glen Canyon and its countless side canyons in 1963, conservationists have been calling for emptying the lake that now supports a recreation economy and power generation. Climate change, ...

Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study

Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study

01/09/2019

The Colorado River Basin Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study has been released. The study documents how Partnership Tribes currently use their water, projects how future water development could occur and describes the potential effects of future tri...

Fear And Grieving In Las Vegas: Colorado River Managers Struggle With Water Scarcity

Fear And Grieving In Las Vegas: Colorado River Managers Struggle With Water Scarcity

01/09/2019

On stage in a conference room at Las Vegas's Caesars Palace, Keith Moses said coming to terms with the limits of the Colorado River is like losing a loved one. "It reminds me of the seven stages of grief," Moses said. "Because I think we've been in denial...

Presentations from the AGU meeting - DC

Presentations from the AGU meeting - DC

01/08/2019

Check out our colleagues' presentations from the fall AGU meeting held in Washington DC in December 2018.

Changes Proposed to Flaming Gorge Operations

Changes Proposed to Flaming Gorge Operations

01/01/2019

Unhappy with the current way Flaming Gorge is being operated, a group of stakeholders recently proposed changes they feel will benefit both local wildlife and the residents who live near the national recreation area.

Restoring a Damned River with Experimental Flooding

Restoring a Damned River with Experimental Flooding

11/30/2018

Experimental releases that mimic natural floods have nudged the Colorado River ecosystem back toward its natural state, but have not fully restored the river.

Controlled Flood on the Grand Canyon begins a Four-day Exercise on the Colorado River

Controlled Flood on the Grand Canyon begins a Four-day Exercise on the Colorado River

11/05/2018

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation begins a four-day controlled flood of the Grand Canyon. The goal is to help move sand and sediment down the Colorado River the way the river's natural flows did before construction of Glen Canyon Dam.

Unnatural Wonder

Unnatural Wonder

10/29/2018

From AZ Central: In the 55 years since the federal government poured more than 5 million cubic yards of concrete across the Colorado River to form Glen Canyon Dam, the demand for water and electricity in Arizona, Nevada and California has turned the river...

Deeply Talks

Deeply Talks

10/06/2018

Shrinking snowpack in the Colorado River watershed is not just a water supply problem, but could also lead to a variety of water quality concerns. Listen to two experts describe these changes and how we might adapt.

Bay-Delta Science Conference

Bay-Delta Science Conference

09/26/2018

"Adaptive management will flounder, says a veteran of efforts on the Colorado River, "if it's only guided by stakeholder concerns and is tightly constrained by nuanced policy considerations."

Center Gauges 'Fill Mead First' Plan

Center Gauges 'Fill Mead First' Plan

11/30/2016

In a technical assessment of scientific issues associated with the proposed project Jack Schmidt, center director and professor in the Department of Watershed Sciences, offers an exhaustive analysis of anticipated water savings and possible risks of FMF’s...

Should Iconic Lake Powell Be Drained?

Should Iconic Lake Powell Be Drained?

From Scientific American: Jack Schmidt, a former chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, says the science doesn't back it up. Instead, it could cause "one hell of a problem," said Schmidt.