29 Facts About Colorado River


Colorado River is one of the principal rivers in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

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The name Colorado River derives from the Spanish language for "colored reddish" due to its heavy silt load.

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From Grand Junction, the Colorado River turns northwest before cutting southwest across the eponymous Colorado River Plateau, a vast area of high desert centered at the Four Corners of the southwestern United States.

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The Colorado then enters northern Arizona, where since the 1960s Glen Canyon Dam near Page has flooded the Glen Canyon reach of the river, forming Lake Powell for hydroelectricity generation.

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At Morelos Dam, the entire remaining flow of the Colorado River is diverted to irrigate the Mexicali Valley, among Mexico's most fertile agricultural lands.

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The Green River takes drainage from the Wind River Range of west-central Wyoming, from Utah's Uinta Mountains, and from the Rockies of northwestern Colorado.

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The Gila Colorado River is the second longest and drains a greater area than the Green, but has a significantly lower flow because of a more arid climate and larger diversions for irrigation and cities.

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Since 1960, the Colorado River has typically dried up before reaching the sea, with the exception of a few wet years.

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For hydrological management purposes, the Colorado River Basin is divided into the Upper Basin, and the Lower Basin.

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The western boundary of the Colorado River Basin is formed by various ranges and plateaus that border the Great Basin, including the Uinta Mountains and Wasatch Range.

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Major Great Basin watersheds bordering the Colorado River Basin are the Great Salt Lake and Sevier Lake watersheds.

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Runoff patterns across the Colorado River Basin reflect this; most of the perennial tributaries originate in the Upper Basin, while tributaries in the Lower Basin are either ephemeral or highly seasonal .

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The Colorado River first formed as a west-flowing stream draining the southwestern portion of the range, and the uplift diverted the Green River, once a tributary of the Mississippi River, west towards the Colorado.

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Some Puebloans migrated to the Rio Grande Valley of central New Mexico and south-central Colorado River, becoming the predecessors of the Hopi, Zuni, Laguna and Acoma people in western New Mexico.

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Colorado River ascended the river in twenty one days as far as the first rapids in Pyramid Canyon, over 300 miles above Fort Yuma and 8 miles above the modern site of Davis Dam.

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Colorado River then took a small boat up beyond the canyon to Fortification Rock and Las Vegas Wash.

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In 1859, a group of adventurers from Georgia discovered gold along the Blue River in Colorado and established the mining boomtown of Breckenridge.

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Colorado River headquarters was nominally based in Mexico, but its real headquarters was in Los Angeles, California.

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Colorado River largely escaped the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution, but in the postrevolutionary period, the Mexican government expropriated the company's land to satisfy the demand for land reform.

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Taylor saw the fact that the Colorado River started outside the border of his state as an "abomination".

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Hydroelectricity from the Colorado River is a key supplier of peaking power on the Southwest electric grid.

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Water allocated to Mexico from the Colorado River is regulated by the International Boundary and Water Commission, which apportions waters from the Rio Grande between the two countries.

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The construction of Hoover Dam stabilized the lower channel of the Colorado River, stored water for irrigation in times of drought, captured sediment and controlled floods.

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Parker Dam was initially built as the diversion point for the Colorado River Aqueduct, planned by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to supply water to Los Angeles.

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Human development of the Colorado River has helped to create new riparian zones by smoothing the river's seasonal flow, notably through the Grand Canyon.

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Rivers and streams in the Colorado basin were once home to 49 species of native fish, of which 42 were endemic.

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Currently, the majority of sediments carried by the Colorado River are deposited at the upper end of Lake Powell, and most of the remainder ends up in Lake Mead.

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Since 1963, the only times when the Colorado River has reached the ocean have been during El Nino events in the 1980s and 1990s.

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The upper Colorado includes many of the river's most challenging rapids, including those in Gore Canyon, which is considered so dangerous that "boating is not recommended".

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