[Cover Photo: Mark Goebel]
All in all, the 2.39 GPA isn’t John “Bluto” Blutarsky level but it sure as hell isn’t good either. Of all the rivers, the northern part of the state fared the best with the North Platte and Yampa both receiving great marks.
“The Yampa River is the last major free-flowing tributary to the Colorado River. It’s “A” grade makes it stand out as a singularly unique and healthy river system, but that’s not to say it doesn’t need our attention.” – Conservation Colorado on their A rating of the Yampa River.
The black spots on the report card this year were the Dolores (D-) and the Colorado (D), which are both susceptible to pollutants from large watersheds whose geography includes large-scale agriculture, coal, and natural gas operations. Still, inconsistent flows from the McPhee dam and low snow years has been the main source of “woe” for the so called “river of sorrows.”
“Our low grade of a D- is a call to action to use the tools that we already have, such as instream flow protections and stakeholder collaboratives focused on improving river management, and develop innovative new solutions so that the “River of Sorrows” can be given the chance to once again bring joy to us all.” – Conservation Colorado on their D- rating of the Dolores River.
In addition to surrounding industries, increased demand, climate change, and water usage has made the job of conserving these rivers close to impossible. That is if it were not for the numerous grassroots organizations that fight day in and day out, both in policy and practice, to keep our watersheds healthy. Keep up the good work Conservation Colorado!
Find the entire interactive report here: Rivers Report Card