WRAN News: August 2020
Reduced Water Deliveries Continue on Drought-Stricken Colorado River
The Colorado River millennial mega-drought continues, despite robust snowpack last winter. Above-average temperatures in spring resulted in a paltry 57% runoff, nowhere near enough water to refill the reservoirs that remain half-empty. Based on these conditions, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently determined that 2021 will be a “tier zero” year under the Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan, with reduced water deliveries for Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. Audubon advocated over several years for the states to adopt this plan that is needed to avoid catastrophic water shortages that would impact people and nature in prolonged and severe dry periods.
The good news is that the Lower Basin water users have demonstrated they can conserve water at scale through system conservation and key partnerships. And as climate change impacts grow in the Colorado River Basin, water conservation will help rural and urban communities thrive while ensuring the sustainability of important bird habitats. Read more.
New Senate Bill Threatens U.S.—Mexico Cooperation and Birds of Lower Colorado River:
Legislation proposed by Senator Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) would destroy the Ciénega de Santa Clara, the largest remaining wetland in the Colorado River Delta, essential for both resident and migrating birds. The bill would instruct the federal government to operate the Yuma Desalting Plant. While the broader purpose of the legislation—to secure federal investment in energy and water—is laudable, the mandate to operate the long-defunct Yuma Desalting Plant is a mistake. It’s bad for birds, and for our existing agreements with Mexico. Read more. You can also read John Fleck’s (professor and river expert) take.
Around the West:
- Take Action Against the Lake Powell Pipeline
- Watch: Supporting Colorado’s River Restoration
- Albuquerque Journal: Audubon releases water for bird habitat on Rio Grande
- New Mexico Political Report: Keeping the river and its ecosystems ‘alive enough’ during dry spells
- Arizona’s Rivers Could Face Irreparable Harm
- Conservation and Community Groups Note Signs of Progress and Mounting Urgency as California Reviews Salton Sea Work
- Cap Radio (Sacramento): California National Parks And Improved Access For Communities Of Color
- Nevada Independent: In Congress, a bipartisan push to fund research on Great Basin lakes, bird habitat
- Nevada Chapter: Fore! More Birding, Fewer Invasive Weeds
Upcoming Virtual Opportunities:
Want to dig deeper into the issues affecting Arizona's Rivers and water? Check out the blog entries below:
- Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo Remains Federally Protected after Delisting Threat Falls Flat. September, 2020.
- Sustaining Healthy Groundwater Levels is Critical to Habitat, Birds, and People. September, 2020.
- Audubon “Wingspan” Weighs in on Colorado River Lake Powell Pipeline. September, 2020.
- Lake Mead and Lower Colorado River to Remain in Tier Zero Shortage for 2021. August, 2020.
- Arizona’s Rivers Could Face Irreparable Harm. August, 2020.
- New Senate Bill Threatens U.S.—Mexico Cooperation, Environment, and Birds of Lower Colorado River. July, 2020.
- Arizona: (UPDATE) International Infrastructure Issues Threaten Arizona’s Santa Cruz River. July, 2020.
- In Driest Year in Half Century, Audubon Releases Water into Rio Grande to Sustain Flows. July, 2020.
- U.S. Senate Introduces New Program to Assess and Monitor Saltwater Lake Ecosystems in the West. July 2020.
- Gila River Diversion Stopped. June, 2020.
- U.S. Senate Votes to Protect Birds, Improve Parks, and Create Jobs. June, 2020.
- Connected by Water: Healthy rivers are key to our physical, emotional, and economic recovery. June, 2020.
- Arizona Department of Water Resources and Audubon Agree to Funding Plan to Conserve Colorado River Water. May, 2020.
- Arizona Legislature Adjourns 2020 Session. May, 2020.
- Arizona Legislature on the Verge of Adjourning. May, 2020.
- Water Policy Wins in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico before Coronavirus Closures. May, 2020.
- Restoring the Colorado River Delta. May, 2020.
- Native Plants Help Restore the Colorado River. May, 2020.
- Audubon Calls for More Resources and Attention (not Less) for Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo. February, 2020.
- Arizona Legislators, Western Rivers Action Network Discuss Water Security. February, 2020.
- UPDATE: New Federal Rule Reduces Protections for Water in the West, Harming People and Birds. January, 2020.
- Five Audubon Chapters Awarded with Western Water Grants. January, 2020.
- Prioritizing Water Security for Arizona’s Birds and People. January, 2020.
- Building a Positive Water Future: Western Water Highlights in 2019. December, 2019.
- Why Groundwater Matters for Arizona’s People and Birds. November, 2019.
- Climate Change Threatens Arizona’s Forest Birds. October, 2019.
- Arizona Legislature Wraps up with Wins for Birds, Water, and Public Lands. June, 2019.
- In the Field—Western Rivers Bird Count. June, 2019.
- International Infrastructure Issues Threaten Arizona’s Santa Cruz River. May, 2019.
- Audubon’s Jennifer Pitt Honored with Leadership Award for Colorado River Work. May, 2019.
- Arizona Needs to Resolve Long-Running Lawsuit in Order to Protect Rivers. April, 2019.
- A Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Is in Place—Now What? April, 2019.
- Bipartisan Colorado River Drought Plan Signed into Law Averting Potentially Catastrophic Outcomes for People and Birds. April, 2019.
- Outdoor Recreation Along Arizona’s Waterways is a $13.5 Billion Industry, Ranked Higher than Golf and Mining, New Report Says. April, 2019.
- Bipartisan Colorado River Drought Plan Overwhelmingly Passes in Congress. Audubon Says: “Win for People and Birds in the Arid West.” April, 2019.
- New Federal Rule Would Reduce Protections for Water in the West, Harming People and Birds. March, 2019.
- How Craft Beer Is Helping Save Water In the Colorado River Basin. March, 2019.
- The Drought Contingency Plan and How We Got Here. March, 2019.
- After Major Progress in Arizona Water Policy, Audubon Continues the Cause. February, 2019.
- Audubon Gives Testimony In Support of Funding to Remove Invasive Plants Along Arizona's Rivers. February, 2019.
- Historic Agreement Reached in Arizona to Avert Devastating Water Shortages in the West: Audubon says “critical step in protecting 36 million people and 400 species of birds”. January, 2019.
- Audubon: Pass the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan. January, 2019.
- What is Going on with Water Planning in Arizona? December, 2018.
- What happened in Vegas? When it comes to water, this doesn’t stay in Vegas. December, 2018.
- Eight Natural Resource Issues for the next U.S. Senator from Arizona. November, 2018.
- 10 Things You Should Know About Arizona’s Groundwater Management Act. October, 2018.
- Balancing the needs of rivers, riparian habitat, and housing while ensuring environmental protections and sustainability for Arizonans. August, 2018.
- Dense forests, encroached meadows, and devastating wildfires: How Audubon and the Arizona Elk Society work together to protect rivers in the West. August, 2018.
- Using less and paying more. A conundrum it seems, until you dig a little deeper. July, 2018.
- Connecting the Dots: From DCP and Lake Mead to Protecting Flowing Rivers and Habitat: Why birders and wildlife advocates should care about Lake Mead. June, 2018
(To see stories from across the Colorado River Basin, visit National Audubon's Western Water News page.)
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