National Conservation, Sportsmen Groups Commend Federal Passage of #Drought Contingency Plan #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Low flows on the Colorado River in Cataract Canyon. Flows on the Colorado have always risen and fallen seasonally, but water managers in the west now firmly see a future with less water overall to work with.

From Western Resource Advocates (Jamie Trafficanda):

Today, President Trump signed a law authorizing a Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) to protect the Colorado River, following the bill’s passage through Congress with bipartisan support. The law, which follows years of negotiations and effort among the seven Colorado River basin states, will allow for voluntary, proactive conservation measures to take effect and bolster water levels in Lake Mead.

In response to the news, leading national conservation and sportsmen organizations issued the following statements:

“This is a historic moment for the Colorado River, the West, and the entire country,” said Kevin Moran, Senior Director for the Colorado River Program at Environmental Defense Fund. “Passing the DCP sets in place a foundation for conservation that will ensure a more secure future for the American Southwest. Now comes the hard work of implementing the DCP in each state. We look forward to continuing to partner with the basin states, farmers, cities, water agencies, tribes and businesses to drive implementation forward.”

“Not only did DCP pass–it did so with strong bipartisan support,” said Scott Yates, Director of Western Water and Habitat Program at Trout Unlimited, “Building that consensus took years of effort from advocates, water agencies, tribes and other stakeholders. That process is a model for conservation across the country.”

“Today marks a huge step forward for the Colorado River and hunters and anglers, but our challenges are far from over,” said Melinda Kassen, Senior Counsel at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, “Faced with an increasingly arid climate in the West, it’s critical that we move forward to implement the Drought Contingency Plan without delay and build upon the foundation it provides.”

“I’m thankful to all parties involved who pushed for the successful passage of this bill. We will continue to work collaboratively with stakeholders during DCP implementation, as we also work to improve conditions at the Salton Sea,” said Jennifer Pitt, Colorado River Program Director at the National Audubon Society, “This is a historic day for the 40 million people who rely on the Colorado River, as well as the 400 bird species and other wildlife.”

“Moving the needle to conserve the Colorado River has required patient compromise and dedication,” said Matt Rice, Colorado Basin Director at American Rivers, “Leaders from each of the seven basin states set aside their differences and came together to do the hard work. These leaders and our representatives in Congress, deserve credit for working together to get DCP done.”

“Our economy, our ecosystems and our communities all rely on the Colorado River,” said Taylor Hawes, Colorado River Program Director at The Nature Conservancy, “Today marks a critical milestone in managing the River in a more sustainable way to benefit many diverse stakeholders and interests, who all set aside their differences and worked toward their shared interest in the health of the River.”

“As the West faces a growing gap between the water we need and declining supply, we have to be ready to work together to make every drop count,” said Jon Goldin-Dubois, President at Western Resource Advocates. “That’s exactly what happened with the Drought Contingency Plan, a state-driven solution that shows we can address big water challenges when the West speaks with a unified voice. There’s still much work left to be done, but this is a true accomplishment that will help improve how water is managed in the region.”

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