28 Facts About The Colorado


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

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

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From Grand Junction, the Colorado turns northwest before cutting southwest across the eponymous Colorado 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 is diverted to irrigate the Mexicali Valley, among Mexico's most fertile agricultural lands.

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The Colorado is joined by over 25 significant tributaries, of which the Green River is the largest by both length and discharge.

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

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The Colorado Plateau is home to most of the major canyon systems formed by the Colorado River and its tributaries, particularly those of the Green and San Juan rivers.

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

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From 1694 to 1702 Kino would explore the Gila and The Colorado Rivers to determine if California was an island or peninsula.

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The name Rio Colorado 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 .

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Many later maps showed the headwaters of the Green and The Colorado rivers connecting with the Sevier River and Utah Lake before flowing west through the Sierra Nevada into California.

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The Colorado 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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The Colorado 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 The Colorado and established the mining boomtown of Breckenridge.

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

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The Colorado 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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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.

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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 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 Grand Ditch, directing runoff from the river's headwaters across the Continental Divide to arid eastern The Colorado, was considered an engineering marvel when completed in 1890.

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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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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 The 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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