HomeEnvironmentDry times on the mighty Colorado River

Dry times on the mighty Colorado River

The Colorado River is in crisis. The warm temperature this spring means that most of the snow this year has not turned into river water. In the past two decades, the Colorado River Basin has experienced the driest years on record, record high temperatures, continued decline in river flow, and catastrophic fires. This is drought. Aridification is the long-term effect of climate warming in the arid west. This is different from drought, which is temporary. Drought will continue to exist.

Drought means that the amount of water for humans and nature (including birds) in the Colorado River will decrease. Everyone and everything who uses water will reduce it. A study shows that rising temperatures are expected to reduce the Colorado River’s water supply by 20% (with 20%) by the middle of this century.day Century average), which will reach 35% by the end of the century (Udall and Overpeck, 2017).

Significant changes need to be made to adapt to the scale and urgency of the water crisis in the Southwest. Although the state and federal governments that share the Colorado River are considering new shortage rules to protect the Colorado River’s reservoirs, it is also important to help water users adapt to the reduced water supply. There is an urgent need to consider investing in projects and practices to improve the resistance of the Colorado River Basin to drought.

Audubon contributed New report It outlines various methods of adaptation and resilience, including some well-understood methods and new ideas. There is no panacea for these solutions, but together they form a broad product portfolio that can help increase supply and reduce demand, while improving habitats, reducing wildfire risks, and helping rural and urban economies. In addition to delving into each of these solutions, the report also discusses how to increase (or in some cases initiate) them, calling for pilot projects and large-scale investment, supportive financing, and action-oriented research.

Climate change has brought unprecedented challenges to the Colorado River Basin. Although policy makers are arguing about reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere, this report shows us that we can start studying the solutions we have on the ground.

The aridification of the Colorado River Basin is a serious challenge, as is the climate impact of the entire continent. Audubon’s climate report, Degree survival This indicates that 64% (389 of 604 species) of North American birds are at risk of extinction due to climate change. The good news is that some strategies that can help mitigate the effects of drought in the Colorado River Basin can also help birds. An example is “natural distributed storage”, which is another term for the restoration of wetlands and high-altitude grasslands. These habitats are vital to the birds in the arid west and are also a way to store water high in the basin, which can be used for downstream use over time.

Another strategy is forest management and restoration. In the context of climate warming, it is not surprising that the western forest is one of the most threatened habitats for birds. As the temperature rises, droughts, extreme heat, and fires will become more intense, spreading, and destructive throughout the west. Large-scale investments in forest management and restoration have impacts on water quality and watershed health that affect birds and humans.

Climate change — and the aridification of the Colorado River Basin — is happening at a scale and speed that threatens the security of water supplies, and requires more extensive intervention than traditional water conservation efforts. People and birds that depend on the Colorado River Basin need it. To learn more about the top ten strategies, please visit: www.tenstrategies.net

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