Kino's 1701 map, "Paso por Tierra a la California," is the first known map to label the river as the Colorado. A. Mellon in the Gila left El Dorado Canyon landing, steamed up through the rapids in Black Canyon, making record time to Callville and tied up overnight. [219] The San Diego Aqueduct branch, whose initial phase was complete by 1947, furnishes water to nearly 3 million people in San Diego and its suburbs. Along its length are expansive canyon walled lakes, cascading whitewater, peaceful flows through wildlife refuges and, of course, the magnificent Grand Canyon. Colorado River, major river of North America, rising in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, U.S., and flowing generally west and south for 1,450 miles (2,330 kilometers) into the Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico. [220] The Las Vegas Valley of Nevada experienced rapid growth in part due to Hoover Dam construction, and Las Vegas had tapped a pipeline into Lake Mead by 1937. Other significant population centers in the basin include Tucson, Arizona; St. George, Utah; and Grand Junction, Colorado. The Colorado River flows through Glenwood Canyon, ... Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and Grand Junction and liberal cities such as Boulder and Denver. Johnson and his partners, all having learned lessons from their failed attempts ascending the Colorado and with the example of the Uncle Sam, brought the parts of a more powerful side-wheel steamboat, the General Jesup, with them to the mouth of the Colorado from San Francisco. Before Ives could finish reassembling his steamer in the delta, George A. Johnson set off from Fort Yuma on December 31, 1857, conducting his own exploration of the river above the fort in his steamboat General Jesup. Running low on food he turned back. [242] In 1997, the USBR estimated that saline irrigation water caused crop damages exceeding $500 million in the U.S. and $100 million in Mexico. [274] This resulted in Lake Mead dropping to its lowest recorded level since 1937, when it was first being filled. Near Tucson, Arizona, "where now there is only powder-dry desert, the grass once reached as high as the head of a man on horse back". The more aggressive tribes, such as the Utes and Navajos, often used horses to their advantage in raids against tribes that were slower to adopt them, such as the Goshutes and Southern Paiutes. [176], Gold strikes from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries played a major role in attracting settlers to the upper Colorado River basin. Starting in the 1860s, gold and silver strikes drew prospectors to parts of the upper Colorado River basin. [29] The river widens here to a broad, moderately deep waterway averaging 500 to 1,000 feet (150 to 300 m) wide and reaching up to 0.25 miles (400 m) across, with depths ranging from 8 to 60 feet (2 to 20 m). [138] The U.S. government has taken some actions to help quantify and develop the water resources of Native American reservations. The areas drained within Baja California and Sonora are very small and do not contribute measurable runoff. On August 9, the entire flow of the Colorado swerved into the canal and began to flood the bottom of the Imperial Valley. [243] In 2011, the seven U.S. states agreed upon a "Plan of Implementation", which aims to reduce salinity by 644,000 short tons (584,000 t) per year by 2030. [263] Major reservoirs in the basin dropped to historic lows,[264] with Lake Powell falling to just one-third of capacity in early 2005, the lowest level on record since 1969, when the reservoir was still in the process of filling. The program reduced the annual load by about 1.2 million short tons (1,100,000 t), but salinity remains an ongoing issue. The Colorado River provides drinking water for 1 in 10 Americans, many in cities such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver and Phoenix. Most of the major dams were built between 1910 and 1970; the system keystone, Hoover Dam, was completed in 1935. This site uses third party cookies for analytics and advertising. The Pacific Southwest Water Plan was the first major proposal to divert water to the Colorado Basin from other river basins – namely, from the wetter northwestern United States. [283] Human development of the Colorado River has also helped to create new riparian zones by smoothing the river's seasonal flow, notably through the Grand Canyon. Le Colorado est un fleuve du Sud-Ouest des États-Unis et du Nord-Ouest du Mexique.Il naît dans les montagnes Rocheuses dans le nord de l'État du Colorado, sur les flancs du mont Richthofen, et se jette dans le golfe de Californie, au Mexique, après avoir parcouru environ 2 330 km.Il traverse une région élevée (1 600 mètres en moyenne) et aride. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the Arizona–Nevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. [244] The pesticide issue is even greater in streams and water bodies near agricultural lands irrigated by the Imperial Irrigation District with Colorado River water. [38] During spring tide conditions, the tidal bore—locally called El Burro—formed in the estuary about Montague Island in Baja California and propagated upstream. [161] In 1869, one-armed Civil War veteran John Wesley Powell led an expedition from Green River Station in Wyoming, aiming to run the two rivers all the way down to St. Thomas, Nevada, near present-day Hoover Dam. The company headquarters was nominally based in Mexico, but its real headquarters was in Los Angeles, California. Reservation and Extension Programs", "In Navajoland, a Contentious Water Deal Divides the Tribe", "John Wesley Powell's Exploration of the Colorado River", Report of the Secretary of War, communicating ... a reconnaissance of the Gulf of California and the Colorado river by Lieutenant Derby, Senate Executive Doc. Situated southeast of metropolitan Las Vegas, the dam is an integral component for management of the Colorado River, controlling floods and storing water for farms and cities in the lower Colorado River basin. [27] Below the dam the river passes under the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge—which at nearly 900 feet (270 m) above the water is the highest concrete arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere[28]—and then turns due south towards Mexico, defining the Arizona–Nevada and Arizona–California borders. Most of the upper river is a swift whitewater stream ranging from 200 to 500 feet (60 to 150 m) wide, the depth ranging from 6 to 30 feet (2 to 9 m), with a few notable exceptions, such as the Blackrocks reach where the river is nearly 100 feet (30 m) deep. [n 6] Phoenix in Arizona and Las Vegas in Nevada are the largest metropolitan areas in the watershed. [149], Between 1850 and 1854 the U. S. Army explored the lower reach of the Colorado River from the Gulf of California, looking for the river to provide a less expensive route to supply the remote post of Fort Yuma. Both rivers and the sea are among the most polluted bodies of water in the United States, posing dangers not only to aquatic life but to contact by humans and migrating birds. [247], Large dams such as Hoover and Glen Canyon typically release water from lower levels of their reservoirs, resulting in stable and relatively cold year-round temperatures in long reaches of the river. The present-day Salton Sea can be considered the most recent incarnation of Lake Cahuilla, though on a much smaller scale. [248] Changes in temperature regime have caused declines of native fish populations, and stable flows have enabled increased vegetation growth, obstructing riverside habitat. [22][23], In Arizona, the river passes Lee's Ferry, an important crossing for early explorers and settlers and since the early 20th century the principal point where Colorado River flows are measured for apportionment to the seven U.S. and two Mexican states in the basin. [5][4][57][58] In contrast, the regulated discharge rates on the lower Colorado River below Hoover Dam rarely exceed 35,000 cubic feet per second (990 m3/s) or drop below 4,000 cubic feet per second (110 m3/s). The latter name did not become consistently applied until the 1870s. [13][14] In a few areas, such as the marshy Kawuneeche Valley near the headwaters[15] and the Grand Valley, it exhibits braided characteristics. [288], Famed for its dramatic rapids and canyons, the Colorado is one of the most desirable whitewater rivers in the United States, and its Grand Canyon section—run by more than 22,000 people annually[289]—has been called the "granddaddy of rafting trips". As demands for Colorado River water continue to rise, the level of human development and control of the river continues to generate controversy. [114] An extensive system of irrigation canals was constructed on the Gila and Salt rivers, with various estimates of a total length ranging from 180 to 300 miles (290 to 480 km) and capable of irrigating 25,000 to 250,000 acres (10,000 to 101,000 ha). [111] In Chaco Canyon and the surrounding lands, they built more than 150 multi-story pueblos or "great houses", the largest of which, Pueblo Bonito, is composed of more than 600 rooms. From 1879 to 1882 the Southwestern Mining Company, largest in El Dorado Canyon, brought in a 56-foot sloop the Sou'Wester that sailed up and down river carrying the salt in the low water time of year until it was wrecked in the Quick and Dirty Rapids of Black Canyon. Occasionally the International Boundary and Water Commission allows a springtime pulse flow to recharge the delta. [60] The latter often produces heavy, highly localized floods on lower tributaries of the river, but does not often contribute significant volumes of runoff. [291] Private (noncommercial) trips are extremely difficult to arrange because the National Park Service limits river traffic for environmental purposes; people who desire such a trip often have to wait more than 10 years for the opportunity. Costs were cut from $200 to $75 per ton. [135] Some Mohave were also moved to the 432-square-mile (1,120 km2) Colorado River Indian Reservation on the Arizona–California border, originally established for the Mohave and Chemehuevi people in 1865. Earp, Blythe, Ripley, and Palo Verde and all along the Colorado Rivers travel through California. [152]:15 It was brought by the schooner Capacity from San Francisco to the delta by the next contractor to supply the fort, Captain James Turnbull. The water rights held by the Colorado River Indian Tribes are a valuable asset, and tribal leadership is seeking congressional approval to cash in on them — for the benefit of the tribes and the state’s high-growth cities and maybe the environment. As it flows southwest, it gains strength from many small tributaries, as well as larger ones including the Blue, Eagle and Roaring Fork rivers. [63], Flows at the mouth of the river have steadily declined since the beginning of the 20th century, and in most years after 1960 the Colorado River has run dry before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Today, we offer whitewater rafting in Utah, Colorado and Idaho, on the Colorado, Green, Yampa, San Juan, and Salmon rivers. [277], After a much lower-than-average snowpack in the 2018 water year, Bureau of Reclamation officials projected the odds of an official shortage declaration in 2020 at 52 percent, in 2021 at 64 percent, and in 2022 at 68 percent. At Morelos Dam, the entire remaining flow of the Colorado is diverted to irrigate the Mexicali Valley, among Mexico's most fertile agricultural lands. In fact, the Navajo acquired agricultural skills from the Puebloans before the collapse of the Pueblo civilization in the 14th century. Without Colorado River water, the region would support few crops, and major cities such as Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona, would not have grown so rapidly. [202], It was not long before the Colorado River began to wreak havoc with its erratic flows. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a number of western ski resort counties. Poling the barges up the Colorado, the first barge sank with its cargo a total loss. The original version of the plan proposed to divert water from the Trinity River in northern California to reduce Southern California's dependence on the Colorado, allowing more water to be pumped, by exchange, to central Arizona. Try to name the 16 cities shown on the map located in the drainage basin of the Colorado River. The Mohave have lived along the rich bottomlands of the lower Colorado below Black Canyon since 1200 A.D. [282] Reduction of the delta's size has also threatened animals such as jaguars and the vaquita porpoise, which is endemic to the gulf. According to a United States Geological Survey publication, it is likely that Francisco de Ulloa was the first European to see the Colorado River when in 1536 he sailed to the head of the Gulf of California. government. Explore Vill-Dream, a town with more than 40 modern houses, Download (82 mb) Project - ParadiseFa "Step into Paradise and forget the time." Early contact between Europeans and Native Americans was generally limited to the fur trade in the headwaters and sporadic trade interactions along the lower river. [172], One of the main reasons the Mormons were able to colonize Arizona was the existence of Jacob Hamblin's ferry across the Colorado at Lee's Ferry (then known as Pahreah Crossing), which began running in March 1864. The company largely escaped the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution (1910–20), but in the postrevolutionary period, the Mexican government expropriated the company's land to satisfy the demand for land reform. When the Colorado River Compact was drafted in the 1920s, it was based on barely 30 years of streamflow records that suggested an average annual flow of 17.5 million acre feet (21.6 km3) past Lee's Ferry. [35] Below San Luis Río Colorado, the Colorado passes entirely into Mexico, defining the Baja California–Sonora border. [167] Navigation on the Colorado River was dangerous because of the shallow channel and flow variations, so the first sternwheeler on the river, the Colorado of 1855, was designed to carry 60 short tons (54 t) while drawing less than 2 feet (0.6 m) of water. [186] On July 25, the name change was made official in House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th Congress, over the objections of representatives from Wyoming, Utah, and the USGS, which noted that the Green River was much longer and had a larger drainage basin above its confluence with the Grand River, although the Grand contributed a greater flow of water. Nevada officials, believing that groundwater resources in the southern part of the state were sufficient for future growth, were more concerned with securing a large amount of the dam's power supply than water from the Colorado; thus they settled for the smallest allocation of all the states in the Colorado River Compact. Hoover was the tallest dam in the world at the time of construction and also had the world's largest hydroelectric power plant. The average discharge recorded there was approximately 14,800 cubic feet per second (420 m3/s), 10.72 million acre feet (13.22 km3) per year, from 1921 to 2010. American explorers collected valuable information that was later used to develop the river for navigation and water supply. The Colorado River is being sucked dry by cities and farms and is also suffering the effects of climate change. Kerig, Dorothy P. "Yankee Enclave: The Colorado River Land Company and Mexican Agrarian Reform in Baja California, 1902-1944." [203][204][205], In 1922, six U.S. states in the Colorado River basin signed the Colorado River Compact, which divided half of the river's flow to both the Upper Basin (the drainage area above Lee's Ferry, comprising parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming and a small portion of Arizona) and the Lower Basin (Arizona, California, Nevada, and parts of New Mexico and Utah). Engineering projects and river regulation have led to the extinction of four species and severe declines in the populations of 40 species. 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