State of the Rockies Project: ‘It’s so hard to imagine when you look at the river as it passes through Glenwood Springs that it just dries up at the Mexico border’ — Zak Podmore

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Stroud):

“Where there used to be 3,000 square miles of wetlands in the Colorado River delta, there is now less than 10 percent remaining,” Podmore described. “It’s so hard to imagine when you look at the river as it passes through Glenwood Springs that it just dries up at the Mexico border,” he said. Podmore and Stauffer-Norris, both 23, paddled their kayaks 1,700 miles from the Colorado River Basin headwaters on the Green River to the Gulf of California…

In Mexico, the river turns into a complicated series of canals. Then, much of the final stages of the trek involved hiking through desert farmlands, mud flats and dried-up river beds before they finally reached the beach on the Sea of Cortez. “No hay agua en El Rio Colorado.” Those were the words of a Mexican fisherman they encountered one day late in the journey as they pulled their kayaks from one of the canals. “There’s no water in the Colorado River.”[…]

“The lower river just gets more interesting,” Will Stauffer-Norris said in a phone interview along with Podmore this past week. “Usually rivers get bigger and bigger as you go farther downstream. But the Colorado just keeps getting smaller.

“This big river turns into a creek, then just dries up in the original riverbed,” he said. “It’s pretty eye-opening to see that first-hand.”

Adds Podmore, “You go from some of the best fly fishing in the world in Wyoming, through the gas drilling and industrial areas, then into scenic wilderness canyons and these massive lakes.”

“To see the river the whole way and how it’s used in different ways really makes you appreciate it,” he said.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

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