Utah Environment
2:54 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

New Protections in Place for Colorado River

A landmark agreement between the United States and Mexico sets up clear guidelines for how the Colorado River will be managed and protected through 2017.

The agreement was just signed and goes into effect immediately. The Bureau of Reclamation says the agreement is designed to make sure that the seven states the river flows through in the U.S., as well as Mexico, will have adequate access to river water.

Molly Mugglestone is project coordinator of Protect the Flows, a coalition of 600 businesses dedicated to helping preserve the Colorado and its tributaries. Mugglestone says businesses and agriculture depend on a healthy river—with a river recreation economy worth $26 billion annually. She adds there is still work to be done to protect not only the Colorado, but also the tributaries that feed into it.

"There are strained rivers across the whole Colorado River system. Habitat is challenged and there's need for some of those more environmental flows and those kind of things to really create a healthier river."

A plan for the entire Colorado River basin—including those tributaries that flow through Utah—is now under review by the Bureau of Reclamation.