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WYO Connections in “Most Endangered Rivers” Report

PHOTO: The Colorado River is listed as "most endangered," according to American Rivers. It's the drinking water supply for millions, irrigation lifeline for desert crops and it provides wildlife habitat. Yet, it's often short on water. Photo credit: Matt Inden-Miles
PHOTO: The Colorado River is listed as "most endangered," according to American Rivers. It's the drinking water supply for millions, irrigation lifeline for desert crops and it provides wildlife habitat. Yet, it's often short on water. Photo credit: Matt Inden-Miles
April 17, 2013

JACKSON, Wyo. - The Colorado River is No. 1 on the 2013 list of "America's Most Endangered Rivers," according to the group American Rivers. Its connections to Wyoming, primarily the Green River, are noted in the report.

The listing doesn't mean the Colorado is a lost cause. Instead, it means decisions could be made soon that affect the river system's health - and it's no secret that the Colorado River often is short on water.

While dams and diversions are touted as "the answer," said Matt Niemerski, American Rivers' director of western water policy, the focus should be on updating current infrastructure and investment in conservation and reuse programs.

"We're in our 13th year of drought," he said, "and if we invest in these conservation and efficiency solutions now, we're going to be thankful we did that 10 to 15 years from now."

Other rivers on the list are in Texas, Georgia, Oregon and Montana.

Rhett Bain, who owns Reel Deal Anglers in Jackson Hole, has worked for years to draw attention to concerns about plans to take water away from the Colorado River system.

"There was a proposal for a pipeline for the water flowing south from the Green River into the Colorado," he said. "Funnel it out and put it on the Front Range of Denver."

The funders of that plan pulled the money earlier this year, but it's expected other investors may come forward to revive it.

The report is online at americanrivers.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY