Dear Friends! The Colorado River needs your help!
For over a decade the Colorado River has no longer reached the Gulf of California – it is a travesty of environmental destruction where 5 trillion gallons of water have been drained out by cities and farms across the Southwest U.S. and Mexico. Take a look at this photo of the dry Colorado River Delta: http://tinyurl.com/drydelta
But now there’s an opportunity to get water back in the river and begin restoring the Colorado River Delta and its wetlands, culture, and economy. Your voice can make a difference!
Over the next few months, the United States and Mexico are negotiating a shared agreement so that a small amount of Colorado River water can once again reach the Gulf and help restore the wildlife and economy of this important region. This agreement will respect the rights of all water users, respect the heritage of U.S.-Mexico border relations, and create an extraordinary opportunity to restore the ecology of the Colorado River Delta.
The agreement between the U.S. and Mexico is being negotiated by the U.S. State Department and will be administered by the U.S. Dept. of Interior. Therefore, Secretary Hillary Clinton (State Dept.) and Secretary Ken Salazar (Interior Dept.) need to hear from you soon.
The following conservation organizations ask for your signature and support: Save the Colorado, Sierra Club – Rocky Mountain Chapter, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Living Rivers: Colorado Riverkeeper, The Environmental Group, Western Rivers Institute, Blue Legacy, The Ocean Foundation, Clean Water Fund, San Diego Coastkeeper, Save the Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper, American Whitewater, Waterkeeper Alliance, Food and Water Watch, Colorado Ocean Coalition, Glen Canyon Institute, Save the Colorado River Delta: Sonoran Institute, Sheep Mountain Alliance, Grand Canyon Trust, American Rivers, Citizens for Dixie's Future, Great Basin Water Network, Redford Center: Red River Film, Planning and Conservation League, and Defenders of Wildlife.
Your Departments are currently negotiating an agreement with Mexico to better manage the Colorado River so that water supply reliability can be enhanced for cities, farms, and natural ecosystems. I support your effort to collaborate with Mexico to restore flows to the Colorado River Delta.
Specifically, I encourage you to support an agreement that:
* Restores some flows into the parched Colorado River Delta. The once-lush Delta has not seen substantial flows for more than a decade, but with a little water this delicate ecosystem could flourish once again. The Colorado River Delta sits in the middle of the vast Sonoran Desert, and provides a critical link in the Pacific Flyway – more than 350 bird species have been recorded in the wetlands there.
* Allows Mexico to store some of its allocation of Colorado River water in Lake Mead. This storage could increase Mexico’s water use efficiency and create opportunities to send water all the way to the Gulf of California. The U.S. can help incentivize this process with an agreement that preserves water supplies for the future, increases water supply reliability, and better meets the demands of drought and of the ecosystem.
* Further supports past agreements with Mexico. In 2010, the U.S. and Mexico successfully negotiated an agreement to protect water flowing to the largest off-channel wetland in the Delta region, the Cienega de Santa Clara, with specific commitments of water for the environment. Now the two countries have an opportunity to repeat this success on the Colorado River itself.
I encourage you to partner with our Mexican neighbors to meet each other halfway in this agreement. This is a historic opportunity that will benefit both countries, the towns and farms that rely on the river, and the endangered ecosystem in the Colorado River Delta.
Thank you for your support!