[117][118] Some Puebloans migrated to the Rio Grande Valley of central New Mexico and south-central Colorado, becoming the predecessors of the Hopi, Zuni, Laguna and Acoma people in western New Mexico. Central Arizona initially relied on the Gila River and its tributaries through projects such as the Theodore Roosevelt and Coolidge Dams – completed in 1911 and 1928, respectively. [253] This pulse reached the sea on May 16, 2014, marking the first time in 16 years that any water from the Colorado flowed into the ocean, and was hailed as "an experiment of historic political and ecological significance" and a landmark in U.S.–Mexican cooperation in conservation. In autumn, the river would drop below the level of the canal inlet, and temporary brush diversion dams had to be constructed. Colorado River was used to irrigate the rich soil. [102] The lack of associated sediment deposits along this stretch of the Colorado River, which would have accumulated in the impounded lakes over time, suggests that most of these dams did not survive for more than a few decades before collapsing or being washed away. [185], In 1921, U.S. Representative Edward T. Taylor of Colorado petitioned the Congressional Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce to rename the Grand River as the Colorado River. [150], The next contractors George Alonzo Johnson with his partner Benjamin M. Hartshorne, brought two barges and 250 tons of supplies arriving at the river's mouth in February 1852, on the United States transport schooner Sierra Nevada under Captain Wilcox. [142] Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's 1540–1542 expedition began as a search for the fabled Cities of Gold, but after learning from natives in New Mexico of a large river to the west, he sent García López de Cárdenas to lead a small contingent to find it. They were allegedly killed by Native Americans after making it to the rim of the canyon; two days later, the expedition ran the last of the Grand Canyon rapids and reached St. The river drains a vast arid and semiarid sector of the North American continent, and because of its intensive development it is often referred to as the “Lifeline of the Southwest.”. border. [260] Droughts have exacerbated the issue of water over-allocation. In 1540, Hernando de Alarcón sailed up the Colorado and Gila Rivers; maps drawn by his expedition show the river as the Miraflores or Brazos de la Miraflores. Several expeditions charted the Colorado in the mid-19th century—one of which, led by John Wesley Powell, was the first to run the rapids of the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon was carved out by the Colorado River in northern Arizona in the United States. Before Ives could finish reassembling his steamer in the delta, George A. Johnson set off from Fort Yuma on December 31, 1857, conducting his own exploration of the river above the fort in his steamboat General Jesup. Early contact between Europeans and Native Americans was generally limited to the fur trade in the headwaters and sporadic trade interactions along the lower river. From 1879 to 1887, Rioville, Nevada was the high water Head of Navigation for the steamboats and the mining company sloop Sou'Wester that carried the salt needed for the reduction of silver ore from there to the mills at El Dorado Canyon. Taylor saw the fact that the Colorado River started outside the border of his state as an "abomination". Whereas it once flowed into a large marshy area at the Gulf of California, today it literally disappears in the farmlands at the base of the Sierra de Juarez Mountains in Mexico. The name Rio Colorado ("Red River") was first applied to the Colorado by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino in his maps and written reports resulting from his explorations to the Colorado River Delta and his discovery that California was not an island but a peninsula (1700–1702). For example, Lake Mead's "dead" capacity is about 2 million acre feet (2.5 km. [226], The initial blueprints for the CRSP included two dams on the Green River within Dinosaur National Monument's Echo Park Canyon, a move criticized by both the U.S. National Park Service and environmentalist groups such as the Sierra Club. [116], These sedentary peoples heavily exploited their surroundings, practicing logging and harvesting of other resources on a large scale. [22][23], In Arizona, the river passes Lee's Ferry, an important crossing for early explorers and settlers and since the early 20th century the principal point where Colorado River flows are measured for apportionment to the seven U.S. and two Mexican states in the basin. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The upper waters, cut off from the sea, gradually evaporated, forming a large area of desert land extending to about 235 feet below sea level. The Missouri River in North Dakota. The Colorado River can be seen in dark blue at the topmost central part of this image. The construction of irrigation canals may have led to a significant change in the morphology of many waterways in the Colorado River basin. Der Fluss entspringt im Rocky-Mountain-Nationalpark im US-Bundesstaat Colorado, nordwestlich von Denver auf der Westflanke der Nordamerikanischen Kontinentalen Wasserscheide. The area referred to as the Missouri Valley is now very populous and does not flood like it did in the past, but these actions have had an affect on water quality and have taken a heavy toll on fish and wildlife. The average discharge recorded there was approximately 14,800 cubic feet per second (420 m3/s), 10.72 million acre feet (13.22 km3) per year, from 1921 to 2010. ", "Information Database and Local Outreach Program for the Restoration of the Hardy River Wetlands, Lower Colorado River Delta, Baja California and Sonora, Mexico", "Historic "Pulse Flow" Brings Water to Parched Colorado River Delta", "Executive Summary, Green River Basin Water Plan", "Boundary Descriptions and Names of Regions, Subregions, Accounting Units and Cataloging Units", "USGS Gage #09315000 on the Green River at Green River, UT", "USGS Gage #09520000 on the Gila River near Dome, AZ", "USGS Gage #09379000 on the San Juan River near Bluff, UT", "Report, Findings, and Determination Regarding the Navigability of the Little Colorado River From its Headwaters to the Confluence with the Colorado River", "USGS Gage #09402300 on the Little Colorado River Above the Mouth near Desert View, AZ", "USGS Gage #09180000 on the Dolores River near Cisco, UT", "USGS Gage #09152000 on the Gunnison River near Grand Junction, CO", "USGS Gage #09415000 on the Virgin River at Littlefield, AZ", National Research Council (U.S.), Committee to Review the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies 1996, "USGS Gage #09421500 on the Colorado River below Hoover Dam", "Climatic Fluctuations, Drought, and Flow in the Colorado River Basin", "Runoff in the Upper Colorado River Basin Water Years, 1983–85, and Comparisons with Forecasts of Runoff to Lake Powell", "A Preliminary Water Balance for the Colorado River Delta, 1992–1998", "Colorado River Drought Threatens Power Production", "Study: Shortages Likely on Colorado River by 2050", "Mines, Farms Put Gila River on Life Support: Despite Lack of Regulation, Some Trying to Restore River to Its Natural Beauty and Wonder", "USGS Gage #09522000 on the Colorado River at Northerly International Boundary, Above Morelos Dam, Near Andrade, CA", "The Effects of Climate Change on the Hydrology and Water Resources of the Colorado River Basin", "USGS Gage #09522200 on the Colorado River at NIB, Above Morelos Dam, AZ – Annual Statistics", "USGS Gage #09010500 on the Colorado River below Baker Gulch near Grand Lake, CO", "USGS Gage #09070500 on the Colorado River near Dotsero, CO", "USGS Gage #09180500 on the Colorado River near Cisco, UT", "USGS Gage #09380000 on the Colorado River at Lees Ferry, AZ", "USGS Gage #09423000 on the Colorado River below Davis Dam, AZ–NV", "USGS Gage #09427520 on the Colorado River Below Parker Dam, AZ–CA", "USGS Gage #09429600 on the Colorado River Below Laguna Dam, AZ–CA", "USGS Surface-Water Annual Statistics for USA Grouped by Hydrologic Unit", "USGS Gage #09380000 on the Colorado River at Lee's Ferry, AZ", "Contributions of Watershed Management Research to Ecosystem-Based Management in the Colorado River Basin", "Streamflow Predictability in the Upper Versus Lower Colorado River Sub-Basins", "Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program", "Colorado River Basin Water Management: Evaluating and Adjusting to Hydroclimatic Variability (Report in Brief)", "The Tectonic Evolution of the Gulf of California", "Reconstruction of Prehistoric Shorelines for Cultural Restraints using GIS", "A Fresh Look at Western Grand Canyon Lava Dams: Introduction", "Evidence for Rapid Formation and Failure of Pleistocene "Lava Dams" of the Western Grand Canyon, Arizona", "Geochemical Discrimination of Five Pleistocene Lava-Dam Outburst-Flood Deposits, Western Grand Canyon, Arizona", "Peak Discharge of a Pleistocene Lava-Dam Outburst Flood in Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA", "Water Development, Extraction, and Diversion", "Ancient Knowledge of the Chaco Canyon Anasazi", "Ancient Forest Management in the Chaco Canyon – From 600 AD to 1300 AD", "Sensitivity of the Colorado Plateau to Change: Climate, Ecosystems and Society", "Desert Farmers at the River's Edge: The Hohokam and Pueblo Grande", "Treaty Between the United States of America and the Navajo Tribe of Indians", "About the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo Tribes", "The Colorado River Indian Tribes (C.R.I.T.) Spence Reservoir, and O.H. The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River.It generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.The river's source basin lies in the western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas River Valley, where the headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. [284], More than 1,600 species of plants grow in the Colorado River watershed, ranging from the creosote bush, saguaro cactus, and Joshua trees of the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts to the forests of the Rocky Mountains and other uplands, composed mainly of ponderosa pine, subalpine fir, Douglas-fir and Engelmann spruce. Mormons settled the Great Basin of Utah in 1847, moved quickly into tributary valleys of the Colorado in Utah and Arizona, and acquired knowledge that contributed to later scientific surveys. [190] Over 29 major dams and hundreds of miles of canals serve to supply thirsty cities, provide irrigation water to some 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares),[191] and meet peaking power demands in the Southwest,[192][193] generating more than 12 billion kWh of hydroelectricity each year. The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states. [134] In 1870, the Mohave were relocated to a reservation at Fort Mojave, which spans the borders of Arizona, California and Nevada. Here, many diversions draw from the river, providing water for both local uses and distant regions including the Salt River Valley of Arizona and metropolitan Southern California. Most of the basin is arid, defined by the Sonoran and Mojave deserts and the expanse of the Colorado Plateau, although significant expanses of forest are found in the Rocky Mountains; the Kaibab, Aquarius, and Markagunt plateaus in southern Utah and northern Arizona; the Mogollon Rim through central Arizona; and other smaller mountain ranges and sky islands. From its sources in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, the Rio Grande flows to the southeast and south for 175 miles (280 km) in Colorado, southerly for about 470 miles (760 km) across New Mexico, and southeasterly for about 1,240 miles (2,000 km) between Texas and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the Gulf of Mexico. Colorado Map. [138] The U.S. government has taken some actions to help quantify and develop the water resources of Native American reservations. As the only undammed river in the lower 48 states, it courses 692 miles through Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. 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