Although most people are familiar with John Wesley Powell as the intrepid one-armed Civil War veteran who became the first European to explore the canyons of the Colorado and Green Rivers in 1869 and again in 1871-72, it is the work that Powell did following his epic journeys for which he truly should be famous. Powell understood the challenges of life in a land of little water like few others of his time, and his ideas for settlement of this region were visionary. As water becomes scarcer and more precious in the West, Powell’s ideas may provide valuable guidance for water managers at all levels in the coming decades.
The Colorado River Basin is one of the driest river basins in the world, yet it has nonetheless birthed extraordinary landscapes and entire civilizations. The waters of this desert basin now support more than 40 million people—more than 10% of the country’s population depends in part or entirely on the waters of the Colorado River and its tributaries. The Colorado examines nine episodes in the history of our interaction with the Colorado River, from early prehistoric cultures to the Spanish explorations of the lower reaches of the river, the dam building frenzy of the early and middle 20th century, industrial agriculture and the current use of water throughout the region. This book provides important history and context to one of the country’s most important—and most endangered—watersheds.
Eighteen educators from across Colorado, Nebraska, and Nevada convened for a River Ecology and Water Management courses during the 2nd annual Western Rivers Teacher Workshop during Western State Colorado University's Summer Teacher Institute in June 2018.
Reflections from Participants
Participants' Story Maps
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