State of the Rockies Project 2012-13:

Down the Colorado Expedition

Will and Zak are back on the river!

After hiking up into Wyoming's Wind River Range to the source of the Green River on Wednesday October 12th, 2011, two Rockies Project Field Researchers began a journey down the full length of the Colorado River Basin. On January 29th, 2012 they reached the Sea of Cortez. From portaging the numerous dams of the basin, to slogging through the remnants of the Colorado River delta, the two researchers reported from the field on the state of the basin. The two Rockies Project field researchers bring a personal narrative of the river they winessed to this year's Rockies Project- The Colorado River Basin: Agenda for Use, Restoration, and Sustainability for the Next Generation.


Take a look at an account of their journey here on their Source to Sea blog.

Here's a video covering a conference call between Will and Zak and Department of Interior officials on the state of the Colorado River delta. Will and Zak were on-site at the Morelos Dam on the U.S.- Mexico border:

For more videos from the trip visit the Rockies Project YouTube channel.

Here are some of the photos they sent back from from their trip:

For more photos from the trip visit the Rockies Project Flickr page.

State of the Rockies Project Expedition Managers:

Will Stauffer-Norris is a field researcher for the 2011/2012 State of the Rockies project.  He was born in Moscow, Idaho, grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia, and graduated from Colorado College in 2011 with an Environmental Science degree.  Starting from early childhood float trips in Idaho, Will has paddled rivers in the U.S., Canada, Chile, and Argentina.  He hopes to combine his passions for wild rivers, visual art, and adventure to document environmental issues surrounding the Colorado River.

Take a look at a video from one of Will's previous Paddling trips in Chile.

Zak Podmore grew up in Glenwood Springs, Colorado where he came to appreciate the waters of the Rocky Mountains over the course of a childhood shaped by winters skiing on mountain slopes and summers floating through the arid sandstone canyons of the San Juan, Dolores, Green, and Colorado Rivers.  A long-time kayaker and rafter, Zak's love of wilderness rivers has taken him to Mexico, Canada, Ecuador, and throughout the American West. This winter he hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the Colorado River basin by researching the water issues currently facing Southwestern communities and by exploring the rivers that fuel them.  He graduated from CC in May of 2011 with a degree in Philosophy and a minor in Psychoanalysis.  

State of the Rockies Project Field Researchers:


David Spiegel grew up in Woodinville, Washington and graduated in 2012 with a degree in International Political Economy. David grew up in a family of river runners and experienced the rivers of the west coast from a  young age. He first discovered his love for the Colorado River during a Grand Canyon expedition in 2007 and has since paddled many of the river’s wilderness sections. David joined the 2012 expedition hoping to utilize his passion for photography and social media to share water related issues with the communities that depend on the river.

Carson McMurray grew up in  Chapel Hill, North Carolina and graduated in May 2012 with a degree in Environmental Science. His interests in environmental issues originate from his family’s obsession with fishing and have grown during his time at Colorado College. Carson specializes in work with GIS mapping and has combined this specialization with his environmental studies to help people see environmental issues through a new perspective. Using these skills he hopes to raise awareness on the environmental and social issues surrounding the Colorado River.