The centennial of the National Park Service

On its centennial, there is no question in my mind about the central role of the U.S. National Park Service in my life’s trajectory. I’ve written often about my experience as a young boy, standing on the Grand Canyon’s south rim, wandering the view spots craning my neck for those fragmentary vistas where you can …

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The solution to the West’s water problems

If I go out and ride for an hour, my brain function after is definitely better. I like to think up creative water solutions when I’m riding. That’s John Currier, chief engineer of the Colorado River District in Glenwood Springs, in a fun story on the crazy bicycling habits of Currier and his colleagues Eric …

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Audubon hiring someone to help save the Salton Sea

Audubon is looking to hire someone to help save the Salton Sea. It’s a great twofer – you get to help the birds, and if you succeed you also get to help save Colorado River manage as a whole, as the two are integrally related. If we fail to get the Salton Sea right, everything …

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La Niña watch

This is your semi-regular, repetitive reminder that El Niño and La Niña don’t matter a hill of beans, in statistical terms, for the Colorado River Basin as a whole. The Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Niña watch. That means cooler temperatures across the equatorial Pacific, which tends on average to influence the North …

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on the Lower Colorado, the weekly human hydrograph

I love this: Thursday is the lowest release for the week, so starting late Thursday the water begins to drop in the river, with the lowest flows on Saturday. If you are a recreational water user — skiing, fishing, pleasure boating, or jet skiing — less water means more sandbars or exposed debris to avoid. …

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the long shadow of Marc Reisner and Cadillac Desert

It is impossible, I have found, to write seriously about water in the western United States without being in conversation with the late Marc Reisner and his classic Cadillac Desert, published thirty years ago. It’s assessment of our problems is foundational, and even if I disagree with some of what he had to say (as …

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Lower Colorado water consumption lowest since 1992

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Aug. 1 Colorado River Lower Basin Water Use Forecast (pdf here) passed a symbolically important milestone: at a forecast consumptive use of 6.998 million acre feet, if the forecast holds, this will be the first time Lower Basin use has been below 7 million acre feet since 1992. Water use in …

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In which Sandra Postel has some nice things to say about my book

I wanna tell you the story of the time I met Sandra Postel in a dry riverbed in the deserts of Mexico. When I first started writing about water more than two decades ago, the work of the water scholar Postel was both informative and inspirational. As much as anything I came across, her work …

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New Mexico’s long history of not building dams on the Gila

Laura Paskus writes: Almost 50 years ago, on June 14, 1967, four couples fired off a telegram from Las Cruces to Sen. Henry Jackson, a Democrat from Washington. Called “Scoop” by his pals, Jackson chaired the Senate committee looking at a bill to authorize the Central Arizona Project, a system of dams, canals and aqueducts …

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