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End of Wild Rivers in the West: Half the West's Rivers Altered | High Sierra Backpacker

End of Wild Rivers in the West: Half the West's Rivers Altered

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 31 March 2018


Water News
End of Wild Rivers in the West

Half the West's Rivers Altered

Report: Half of the West’s Rivers Altered by Development, Diversions,
Water Deeply, March 29, 2018.

"...rivers throughout the West are increasingly under siege."

"Climate change, land development and catastrophic forest fires are the big concerns today."

"...Colorado, Utah and California are all entertaining big new dam proposals. All three states are also pondering major pipelines to divert river flows, even as those flows diminish due to persistent drought and a warming climate."

"...49 percent of all river miles in Western states have been modified from their original condition, either by changes in flow or adjacent land development. High-elevation headwaters have not been spared, with 35 percent disturbed by some form of development."

"...rivers that flow through protected areas – whether national parks, wilderness areas or state protected lands – are 50 percent more natural than those that flow through unprotected area."


Behind Percentages
The funny thing about this report is that it measures direct human physical effects on riverine environments, if they are "modified from their original condition, either by changes in flow or adjacent land development," which is a yes or no question, if they are in a "natural" or an "altered" state, and what percentage is each over the run of the river. This report takes absolutely no account of the steady "background" degradation of climate and weather trends is having on both the wild and altered aspects of Western rivers.

Western rivers are degrading with the degrading climate, even without the addition of more human development and diversions. Ecosytems are now under constant stress.


Real Engine of Change
A step beyond the influcence of the changing climate lays the fact that we are rapidly growing vast urban megacities smack in the middle of vast deserts, while drawing the water necessary to serve these vast multi-million populations hundreds of miles from High Sierra and Rocky Mountain watersheds that are themselves rapidly degrading, and are indispuatably experiencing a long, deep decline.


Growth Machine of Death Solution
Our "solution?" Right now we are watching the political and economic leaders of the various regions of the Southwestern United States, (the bribees and their bribemasters, respectively), are fighting each other to lock-in their region's claims to largest share of the diminishing stocks of water, to support as much future demographic growth, to expand their region's megacities as much as possible, before the water runs completely out.


Current Policy Trajectory
In the meantime, they, the politicians and billionaires of California, Arizona, and New Mexico are pushing as much current development forward as they possibly can, which they all know is currently pushing far beyond the ability of the current California and Colorado water systems to sustainably support, but they don't care: their goal is to make as much money as possible with the water that is available, before the water completely runs out, as their growth already exceeds what our water system can support during the current dry years. In the meantime, the climate changes are rapidly accelerating, and the megadrought deepens.

That's what our political and economic leaders have already done to our country. Right now they are just squeezing the last drops out of an already well-squeezed lemon...



River-Climate Decline

Water & Climate, Draining the Land & The Sky, Colorado River, Lake Mead, & The Rockies: A BROKEN SYSTEM

Climate Change News: Whole Southwest of US Undergoing Aridification



Fighting for the Last Drops

Colorado Water Distribution House of Cards

52 Card Pickup. Bottom-Line: Farmer Water Rights Prevail over Multi-state Plan




The Forces of Endless Growth

Stealing More Water to Kill More of Nature


Rockies-Colorado Failure Assures Phoenix Failure





2018 Oceans, Fish, Water, & Ice News





March 2018 News of Man & Nature




News from Nature


Climate Destruction News



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water news western river status substantially degraded


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