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Colorado River

  • There’s been an increase in hydropower projects across the U.S., including on different tribal reservations. But some advocates say tribes like the Navajo Nation aren’t being consulted enough about their development.
  • Environmental activists and tribal leaders in Arizona are welcoming the news that President Biden could designate land surrounding the Grand Canyon as a new national moment this week. The Washington Post reported on Friday that federal officials have begun telling tribal groups to be ready for a potential Grand Canyon monument announcement sometime during Biden’s visit to Arizona. New polling results released last week by Impact Research show that voters in Arizona overwhelmingly support the designation of the monument, which would protect the region from further uranium mining. Carletta Tilousi, a Havasupai tribal council member who spoke at a meeting after the polling was released, says that the creation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument will help protect the Colorado River for future generations. And the Colorado Republican Party rejected a change to its bylaws that would have made it easier to opt out of next year’s primary elections.
  • A group dedicated to protecting water sources in the Black Mesa region of northeast Arizona has filed resolutions from eighteen different Navajo chapter houses to a federal agency in opposition to proposed water storage projects. Tó Nizhóní Ání, or Sacred Water Speaks, is a Navajo nonprofit that works to protect water sources on Black Mesa from misuse and contamination by energy companies. Adrian Herder, a campaign lead for Sacred Water Speaks, says that his organization has submitted resolutions to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opposing the three Black Mesa Pumped Storage projects. And more money than ever before is being spent on lobbying in Colorado. The Colorado Sun reports more than $50M went to lobbyists from July 1, 2022 to the end of June this year.
  • The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service held a public meeting in northern Arizona on Tuesday on a new, tribally-proposed national monument near the Grand Canyon. It would protect over one million acres of land for tribes that call the canyon home.
  • The Upper Colorado River Commission has extended the deadline for water users to enroll in the rebooted System Conservation Pilot Program, which pays farmers to curb their use. And housing is a major priority for Democrats at the State Capitol. That includes a new bill that would add eviction protections for Coloradans who get public assistance or disability benefits.
  • Colorado River activists are calling on the federal government to rework the plumbing on one of its biggest dams. And President Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that he says will make it easier for people to travel to other states for abortions.
  • One of Colorado’s top water officials says he can’t enforce recent federal demands to start conserving more on the Colorado River. And Colorado Parks and Wildlife is enacting voluntary fishing closures in Southwest Colorado.
  • A fire broke out at Hoover Dam on Tuesday morning. And states in the Upper Colorado River Basin aren’t ready to commit to federal water conservation targets.
  • Lake Powell is in crisis. So reports KUNC’s Alex Hager, who covers the Colorado River. Just last month, water in the nation's second largest reservoir dipped below the target elevation. Now, the federal government is moving forward with emergency cutbacks for several states.
  • A new plan will release water from Flaming Gorge Reservoir, a measure designed to boost dropping levels in Lake Powell. The releases come as a response to record lows, which are on course to drop too low to generate hydropower at the Glen Canyon dam. The Drought Response Operations Plan brings together the four states of the upper Colorado River basin – Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico – and the federal government.