Vail Daily letter: Promote Colorado River conservation
May 28, 2017
Our names are Abril Arenales and Tristin Book from Eagle Valley High School. As a part of our environmental science class, we were encouraged to research an environmental issue and advocate for it. Through this, the threat to the Colorado River was brought to our attention and we wish to inform others of the dilemma.
The lower Colorado River has topped the list of America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2017. The threat of pollution in the Colorado River is not only detrimental for Coloradans but also the citizens of California, Nevada and Arizona who rely on the river to provide their water, as well. This problem can no longer be ignored and must be brought to the public's immediate attention in order to prevent further damage to the ecosystems and communities surrounding the river.
According to the Clean Colorado River Sustainability Coalition, a groundwater plume near the river "was estimated to contain at least 108 million gallons with chromium concentrations as high as 12,000 parts per billion." Several organisms depend on the Colorado River for survival, so the threat of these high levels of pollution to the water is also a threat to the biodiversity of the river's ecosystem.
With decreasing biodiversity, the river ecosystem will have a weakened resilience to further disturbances. There will also be fewer niches filled in order to provide ecological services if certain fish populations decrease. Humans benefit from these services through the recreational aspect of fishing, along with the provisioning factor when the fish are used for food.
The Colorado River is a backbone for the agriculture industry in the region, which is a vital service for the sake of several people's livelihoods.
The effects of the damages to the Colorado River can be counteracted through limiting daily water consumption and donating to projects that are focusing on removing pollutants from the river, such as the Clean Colorado River Alliance. The negative impacts the Colorado River is experiencing as a result of the misuse of the water demonstrates that promoting the rehabilitation and conservation of the river is in everyone's best interest.
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