Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make a difference drinking a couple of beers. Earlier this summer PL reported that the New Belgium Brewing Company in Ft. Collins was spearheading an effort to restore the Colorado River after being named one of the “Most Endangered Rivers in America”. New Belgium, along with Patagonia, Aspen Snowmass Environment Foundation, Colorado Kenney Brothers Foundation, National Geographic Maps, Environment Now, and OARS started the Save the Colorado River Campaign. Now all those brewskies enjoyed after a full day of paddling have come to fruition.
The Save the Colorado River Campaign Fund has announced its’ grants for 2010. The recipients are ten different environmental groups that span the Colorado river from top to bottom. The STCC has announced that $150,000 has been granted to these groups, all working to protect and restore the Colorado River.
The upper Colorado has been named one of the “Most Endangered Rivers in America, and near the Arizona/Mexico border it has been drained completely dry. In between, water levels are so depleted that water and electricity supplies are threatened for the entire southwestern United States.
“The river is nearing a complete crisis,” says Gary Wockner, Campaign Coordinator for STCC. This crisis will eventually have far reaching effects, even beyond environmental concerns. For the communities that obtain their electrical power from the Colorado, the depleting water source is a cause of major concern. Wockner and the STCC are attempting to address these concerns “Through the Campaign Funds granting efforts, we are trying to support innovate projects and stimulate new activism all along the basin to help keep the river alive.”
At the top of the basin, the Fund donated to the Colorado Environmental Coalition. The coalition includes partner efforts with Trout Unlimited and Western Resource Advocates to address the threat of new dams and reservoirs and aggressively promote water conservation in Denver and Front Range cities as an alternative water supply source.
The Glen Canyon Institute in Utah received a grant for its “Fill Lake Mead First” project. This innovative effort to address the dwindling water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Filling these two lakes are seen as important steps to stave off a dire economic situation in the Southwest, as well as potentially restore parts of Glen Canyon on the Colorado River.
Near the bottom of the basin, San Diego Coastkeeper received a grant for its program “Indirect Potable Reuse,” a continued effort to recycle wastewater and turn it into city drinking water. The program hopes to decrease the deman for Colorado River water by the city of San Diego.
Additional funding went to:
– American Whitewater Association to protect streamflows, and thus boating opportunities, in the Upper Colorado River.
– Grand Canyon Trust to protect the Colorado River flowing through one of America’s crown jewels, Grand Canyon National Park.
– Citizens for Dixie’s Future in Utah to address the threat of the Lake Powell Pipeline which will drain even more water from the Colorado River.
– Sheep Mountain Alliance in Colorado to protect stream flows and water rights on a tributary of the Colorado River.
– Sonoran Institute of Tucson to try to create an instream flow program for the Colorado River Delta.
– Earthjustice, the environmental law firm in Denver which is working to protect river flows throughout the basin.
“The Colorado River is in dire straits,” said Wockner. “But we are extremely lucky to have all of these groups and people working throughout the basin. We are proud to support them and their work.”
The Save the Colorado River Campaign is led by New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado. The Campaign Fund is further supported by donations from Patagonia, Clif Bar & Company, Kenney Brothers Foundation, National Geographic, Environment Now, The Environment Foundation, and OARS. Save the Colorado is a Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, a 501c3 charitable organization.
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