River Rally II Rocks Capitol

Hear Case Philip sing "Don't Suck the Uppper Colorado Dry" on YouTube.

A group of more than 70 boisterous Defend the Colorado advocates gathered at the state capitol to hand-deliver a giant post card to governor Hickenlooper's office. Why a giant post card? Because it had to have enough room for the 2,000 people who wanted to sign it and comment. Their message?  'Don't Suck the Upper Colorado River Dry.'

"Can you hear us now?"

Since the rally happened right outside his office window, the governor - or at least his staff - probably heard it loud and clear. A group of about 70 river advocates turned out to hear several speakers, including Drew Peternell, director of TU's Colorado Water Project, who told the crowd that the recreation opportunities many Coloradans take for granted "will no longer exist" on the Upper Colorado if the river is not protected.

Fraser Valley TU Headwaters chapter president Kirk Klancke emotionally recounted how his children had worried about the health of the Upper Colorado and wondered if it would be there for them.

And Field and Stream columnist Kirk Deeter offered an analogy to plans to take two-thirds of the Upper Colorado flows -- would it be acceptable, he asked, if the state decided to take two-thirds of Pikes Peak, another Colorado icon?

Read Deeter's terrific blog post on that theme here.

The governor certainly won't be "the decider" when it comes to water projects on the upper Colorado River, but we believe he should weigh-in and try to influence the final decision. Here's what we think water-project developers need to do:

  • Manage the water supply to keep the rivers cool, clear and healthy.
  • Ensure healthy flushing flows to prevent river habitat from filling in with silt.
  • Monitor the rivers’ health and a commitment to take action if needed to protect them.
  • Bypass the Windy Gap dam to reconnect Colorado River and restore river quality.

The Defend the Colorado coalition includes Colorado Trout Unlimited and a range of stakeholders, including conservation and wildlife groups, landowners, and outdoor recreationists. More than 400 western slope businesses have signed a petition asking state leaders to protect the Upper Colorado.

The event received some good media coverage, including a report on Colorado Public Radio and a great column in the Denver Post by outdoor writer Scott Willoughby. http://www.denverpost.com/willoughby/ci_20014054

For more information, go to www.DefendTheColorado.org.