Adventure on the Colorado! Yes, its a Climate Change Story
For the second time in my life, I have the privilege of rafting through the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.
Colorado has had record recent rains and flooding recently, because the rain fell on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River–draining west–continues to suffer from a decade long drought. Water levels in Lake Powell behind the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam are at historic lows.
This story from the Weather Channel website has a time lapse slide show of Lake Mead shrinking over the last decade, leading to water rationing in the desert city of Las Vegas and a new appreciation for how the changing climate will affect western cities.
Randall Julander, a U.S. Department of Agriculture hydrologist, summed the situation up best. “Slight improvement in the Colorado basin water supply is like expecting a road-killed jackrabbit to feed a whole pack of hungry coyotes. It’s not nearly enough to go around,” he said.
In 2007, the first time I ran the river, our group almost capsized in a newly re-appeared rapid exposed by the shrinking of Lake Mead. Our river map showed a “riffle” based on the previous year’s water levels–but we encountered a Class VI rapid in the dark! Won’t do that again.
I will be out of communication for 3 weeks–no cell or internet service in the bottom of the Canyon. Till later, Rex.