Western rivers: Assuring abundance

EDF is pioneering ways to keep rivers flowing in the era of climate change

A view of the striking Colorado River. Reservoirs along the river are already ba

Use of Colorado River water already exceeds the average supply, and as scientists have gotten better at assessing regional impacts of climate change, they predict a further 10-15% decline in the Colorado's flows by midcentury.

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Climate change, drought and growing populations are taking their toll on Western rivers and watersheds. That's why we're working with farmers, cities and other environmental groups to develop market solutions and other incentives that conserve water and preserve rivers.

Our current strategies

  • Swainsons Hawk on Branch

    Restoring vital riverside habitat

    Vast swaths of California’s Central Valley's riverside habitat have been lost, threatening wildlife like the rare Swainson's Hawk. With 75% of land being privately held, we've reached out to landowners along the Mokelumne River, including winegrowers, to restore the native habitat on which many species depend.
  • Jennifer Pitt

    Finding flexible solutions

    EDF experts like Jennifer Pitt are transforming the way water is used in the Colorado River Basin by pushing for flexible systems like water banking instead of the outdated "use it or lose it" method. We're also introducing new ways to restore habitat in this region that benefits both wildlife and landowners.
  • Cinega

    Forging ties with Mexico

    Once called the American Nile, the Colorado River now peters out long before it reaches the sea at the Gulf of California. EDF has worked to change that by helping to forge an historic agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that re-establishes, on a pilot basis, a modest flow of water in the Colorado River delta, a first step toward the recovery of an ecosystem vital to wildlife and people.