State of the Rockies Project 2011-12: The Colorado River Basin: Agenda for Use, Restoration and Sustainability for the Next Generation

Seeking to bring a new perspective to the debates surrounding the multitude of issues and conflicts in the Basin, this year's State of the Rockies Project title is The Colorado River Basin: Agenda for Use, Restoration and Sustainability for the Next Generation. Click here for the Project Prospectus. During 2011-12 the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project will begin with a coordinated focus on the Colorado River Basin in its summer 2011 student research. The results of this research will then be incorporated with monthly talks by experts during the academic year and a major conference in the spring of 2012. The culmination of this year's Project will be the publication of the 2012 State of the Rockies Report Card.

The Colorado River Basin, one of the world’s major fresh-water sources, encompasses portions of seven states in the American Southwest and continues into Mexico: consisting of 242,000 sq. miles in the US, of which three-fourths is public lands, and 3,000 in Mexico; supplying water to households, communities, businesses and farms, as well as natural ecosystems.  Roughly 27 million people rely on the river for water, energy and healthy ecosystems.  Climate studies indicate the potential for inadequate water supplies throughout the 1,400-mile river system.  The region’s projected population growth means increased water demand on the Colorado River from municipalities, industry, agriculture and recreation.  Some expert studies predict that by 2050 the river system will not be able to supply all of its allocated shares two-thirds to nine-tenths of the time.  Thus, the State of the Rockies Project for 2011-2012 seeks to present information regarding the current issues in the Basin, highlight the implications of a changing climate as a variable to the current system, and incorporate a perspective of future generations.

Click Here for the State of the Rockies' Overview of the Colorado River Basin

Colorado River Basin Poll for College Students

Where are Will and Zak?

During the fall of 2011 and early 2012, two recent Colorado College graduates, Will Stauffer-Norris and Zak Podmore, paddled from source to sea down the Colorado River Basin. Starting high in Wyoming's Wind River Range, the two Rockies Field Researchers reported from the river on the places they travelled through and the issues they encountered between the headwaters and the Mexican Delta. See more about the journey here on the Rockies Project Source to Sea page.

ATTENTION: The 2011-12 Colorado River Basin Banner Photo Journalism Contest is now accepting submissions!


The State of the Rockies Project is pleased to announce our new photo journalism contest for the upcoming year! In addition to our usual photo contest that takes submissions of landscapes and people throughout the eight state Rocky Mountain Region, we have started a contest incorporating this year's focus topic: The Colorado River Basin. Contestants are asked to request one of the Project's Save the Colorado River Basin banners and photograph aspects of the basin; the overarching theme: What do youth care about in the Basin and seek to enhance and protect for the future? 

To Learn how to participate in the Contest, Click here>>>

The State of the Rockies Project Summer Research Trip throughout the Colorado River Basin

See the Summer 2011 Field Work Brochure here. Also check out photos from the trip on our Facebook Page, videos detailing our stops along the trip and the issues we encountered and researched on our YouTube Channel, and detailed accounts of our daily travels and meetings on our Summer Research Trip blog page


Colorado River Basin Links:

Jon Waterman- Co-author of The Colorado River Flowing through Conflict

Peter McBride- Photographer and Co-author of The Colorado River Flowing through Conflict