Disasterous pipeline halted in Colorado

A huge victory for endangered fish and other river species was recently given by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. For the second time they rejected a permit for a massive, controversial pipeline that would be a disaster for the Colorado and Green rivers. The Flaming Gorge pipeline would suck an astonishing 81 billion gallons of water from the Green river each year. This would have caused a potentially fatal blow to one of the West’s last great rivers. In addition it would have spelled disaster to razorback suckers and Colorado pike minnows.

The Center for Biological Diversity and it's allies had intervened with legal action against the pipeline's permit process. The commission said the project was poorly defined and that its proponent, Wyco Power and Water, Inc., was dismally unprepared to get all the authorizations needed to build it. In other words the outrageous attempt to deplete two rivers should be over with.

The Center for Biological Diversity has continuously led efforts to protect the sucker fish habitat. They have also worked to restore important desert rivers. All of this may offer a glimmer of hope for the razorback sucker and other native fish as it led to the decommissioning of a diversion dam and environmentally destructive power plants that depleted Fossil Creek water. The Center for Bological Diversity has also slowed excessive livestock grazing that degraded water quality there. Their most recent efforts have been to begin to reintroduce native fish back into the creek.

Razorback suckers are a large warm water fish species that are native to the Colorado River basin. Unfortunately the construction of more than a dozen dams throughout the lower basin of the river has left little natural habitat for the fish. Once common throughout the river basin, the sucker is now reduced to less than a quarter of its former range and its presence is rare in most areas. Because the remaining fragmented wild populations are in such serious jeopardy, the halting of the pipeline provides a wonderful opportunity to allow for it's comback.

Photo: Richard Zimmerman

VIDEO Green and Colorado River Fly Through

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