[247], Large dams such as Hoover and Glen Canyon typically release water from lower levels of their reservoirs, resulting in stable and relatively cold year-round temperatures in long reaches of the river. An early motive was the search for the Seven Cities of Gold, or "Cibola", rumored to have been built by Native Americans somewhere in the desert Southwest. [95], The time scale and sequence over which the river's present course and the Grand Canyon were formed is uncertain. With more than 500 miles of the Colorado River either running through the state or forming its border, the Colorado River is a major part of Arizona. The Colorado River (Spanish: Río Colorado) is one of the principal rivers (along with the Rio Grande) in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. [140] The Navajo continue to seek expansion of their water rights because of difficulties with the water supply on their reservation; about 40 percent of its inhabitants must haul water by truck many miles to their homes. [152]:15 It was brought by the schooner Capacity from San Francisco to the delta by the next contractor to supply the fort, Captain James Turnbull. The U.S. federal government was the main driving force behind the construction of dams and aqueducts, although many state and local water agencies were also involved. Large-scale settlement of the lower basin began in the mid- to late-19th century, with steamboats providing transportation from the Gulf of California to landings along the river that linked to wagon roads to the interior. Just south of the line is the La Poudre Pass Lake and the wet meadow from which the C… [263] Major reservoirs in the basin dropped to historic lows,[264] with Lake Powell falling to just one-third of capacity in early 2005, the lowest level on record since 1969, when the reservoir was still in the process of filling. [273] Reservoir levels were low enough at the beginning of water year 2014 that the Bureau of Reclamation cut releases from Lake Powell by 750,000 acre feet (930,000,000 m3)—the first such reduction since the 1960s, when Lake Powell was being filled for the first time. Most native peoples that inhabit the region today are descended from other groups that settled there beginning about 1,000 years ago. [174] The Mormons were the first whites to develop the water resources of the basin on a large scale, and built complex networks of dams and canals to irrigate wheat, oats and barley in addition to establishing extensive sheep and cattle ranches. [285], Rivers and streams in the Colorado basin were once home to 49 species of native fish, of which 42 were endemic. Because of the dramatic drop in elevation of the two rivers, there were rumors of huge waterfalls and violent rapids, and Native American tales strengthened their credibility. The average discharge recorded there was approximately 14,800 cubic feet per second (420 m3/s), 10.72 million acre feet (13.22 km3) per year, from 1921 to 2010. Our flowing waters! [261][262], The most severe drought on record began in the early 21st century, in which the river basin produced normal or above-average runoff in only four years between 2000 and 2012. [137] The four tribes now form a geopolitical body known as the Colorado River Indian Tribes. [208] These and nine other decisions, compacts, federal acts and agreements made between 1922 and 1973 form what is now known as the Law of the River. [56] At Topock, Arizona, about 300 miles (480 km) upstream from the Gulf, a maximum historical discharge of 384,000 cubic feet per second (10,900 m3/s) was recorded in 1884 and a minimum of 422 cubic feet per second (11.9 m3/s) was recorded in 1935. As a result, the Grand Canyon dams were removed from the CAP agenda, the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park were extended to preclude any further development in the area, and the pumping power was replaced by the building of the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona, in 1976. We have but a month's rations remaining. Joseph C. Ives, REPORT UPON THE COLORADO RIVER OF THE WEST, EXPLORED IN 1857 AND 1858 BY LIEUTENANT JOSEPH C. IVES, CORPS OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, UNDER THE DIRECTION OP THE OFFICE OF EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS, A. [231][232][233] The resulting Central Arizona Project (CAP) irrigates more than 830,000 acres (3,400 km2) and provides municipal supplies to over 5 million people from Phoenix to Tucson using water from the Colorado River. The famed opposition to Glen Canyon Dam, the primary feature of the CRSP, did not build momentum until construction was well underway. From snow-capped mountains to vibrant cities to the lush countryside, you will always find something new and exciting in the Centennial State. Here, many diversions draw from the river, providing water for both local uses and distant regions including the Salt River Valley of Arizona and metropolitan Southern California. [91] To the west in California, the Colorado River watershed borders on those of small closed basins in the Mojave Desert, the largest of which is the Salton Sea drainage north of the Colorado River Delta. Explorer, and traveled up the river as far as Black Canyon. As demands for Colorado River water continue to rise, the level of human development and control of the river continues to generate controversy. [106] Another notable early group was the Fremont culture, whose peoples inhabited the Colorado Plateau from 2,000 to 700 years ago. [210] Behind the dam rose Lake Mead, the largest artificial lake in the U.S., capable of holding more than two years of the Colorado's flow. After leaving the confines of the Black Canyon, the river emerges from the Colorado Plateau into the Lower Colorado River Valley (LCRV), a desert region dependent on irrigation agriculture and tourism and also home to several major Indian reservations. "[32], The LCRV is one of the most densely populated areas along the river, and there are numerous towns including Bullhead City, Arizona, Needles, California, and Lake Havasu City, Arizona. [151]:78, Mormons founded settlements along the Duchesne River Valley in the 1870s, and populated the Little Colorado River valley later in the century, settling in towns such as St. Johns, Arizona. Beginning with small bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers, Native Americans have inhabited the Colorado River basin for at least 8,000 years. Nominated. government. From 1879 to 1887, Rioville, Nevada was the high water Head of Navigation for the steamboats and the mining company sloop Sou'Wester that carried the salt needed for the reduction of silver ore from there to the mills at El Dorado Canyon. [274] This resulted in Lake Mead dropping to its lowest recorded level since 1937, when it was first being filled. The Spanish introduced sheep and goats to the Navajo, who came to rely heavily on them for meat, milk and wool. Colorado River drought study advances as participants call for fairness between cities, ranches. The areas drained within Baja California and Sonora are very small and do not contribute measurable runoff. Las Vegas is one of the most progressive water users, McBride says. Salinity is one of the major issues and also leads to the corrosion of pipelines in agricultural and urban areas. As it flows southwest, it gains strength from many small tributaries, as well as larger ones including the Blue, Eagle and Roaring Fork rivers. [99][100] Since then the river has changed course into the Salton Sink at least three times, transforming it into Lake Cahuilla, which at maximum size flooded up the valley to present-day Indio, California. 2., San Diego, 1901. p.15-16. Further efforts have been made to combat the salt issue in the lower Colorado, including the construction of a desalination plant at Yuma. He then took a small boat up beyond the canyon to Fortification Rock and Las Vegas Wash.[158]:Part 1, 85–87 After experiencing numerous groundings and accidents and having been inhibited by low water in the river, Ives declared: "Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality. Failure of the lava dams caused by erosion, leaks and cavitation caused catastrophic floods, which may have been some of the largest ever to occur in North America, rivaling the late-Pleistocene Missoula Floods of the northwestern United States. [129] From 1694 to 1702 Kino would explore the Gila and Colorado Rivers to determine if California was an island or peninsula. In early 1905, heavy floods destroyed the headworks of the canal, and water began to flow uncontrolled down the canal towards the Salton Sink. [177] During 1875, even bigger strikes were made along the Uncompahgre and San Miguel rivers, also in Colorado, and these led to the creation of Ouray and Telluride, respectively. Various estimates place the time it would take for Powell to completely fill with silt at 300 to 700 years. [143] Cárdenas was reportedly unimpressed with the canyon, assuming the width of the Colorado River at 6 feet (1.8 m) and estimating 300-foot (91 m)-tall rock formations to be the size of a man. [226], The initial blueprints for the CRSP included two dams on the Green River within Dinosaur National Monument's Echo Park Canyon, a move criticized by both the U.S. National Park Service and environmentalist groups such as the Sierra Club. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a number of western ski resort counties. It was intended to boost supplies for the Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada as well as Mexico, thus allowing the Upper Basin states to retain native Colorado River flows for their own use. This was primarily because of Glen Canyon's remote location and the result that most of the American public did not even know of the existence of the impressive gorge; the few who did contended that it had much greater scenic value than Echo Park. [280] The most prominent riparian zones along the river occur along the lower Colorado below Davis Dam,[281] especially in the Colorado River Delta, where riparian areas support 358 species of birds despite the reduction in freshwater flow and invasive plants such as tamarisk (salt cedar). The Colorado River, also known as the “Lifeline of the Southwest,” spreads along 1,450 miles (2,330 kilometers), from northern Colorado to the Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico. [135] Some Mohave were also moved to the 432-square-mile (1,120 km2) Colorado River Indian Reservation on the Arizona–California border, originally established for the Mohave and Chemehuevi people in 1865. [282] Reduction of the delta's size has also threatened animals such as jaguars and the vaquita porpoise, which is endemic to the gulf. The Colorado River is an approximately 862-mile (1,387 km) long river in the U.S. state of Texas. [71] In 1984, so much excess runoff occurred that some 16.5 million acre feet (20.4 km3), or 22,860 cubic feet per second (647 m3/s), poured into the sea. Also, in 1866, a steamboat landing was established at Callville, intended as an outlet to the Pacific Ocean via the Colorado River, for Mormon settlements in the Great Basin. Both rivers and the sea are among the most polluted bodies of water in the United States, posing dangers not only to aquatic life but to contact by humans and migrating birds. 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