Colorado River Basin and Delta

How we're protecting critical riverside habitat across the arid West.

The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the American West, and the wetlands and riparian forests along its banks provide critical habitat for hundreds of species of birds. That habitat is rapidly drying up. Increased water demand from growing cities and agriculture, in combination with decreasing river flows—a symptom of climate change and drought—has drastically degraded ecosystems along the Colorado River.

And it’s not just wildlife that is being affected by water scarcity: the 40 million people who rely on the Colorado River and its tributaries are facing the prospect of shortages as the demand for water now exceeds supply.

With Audubon’s expertise in both Western water policy and conservation science, we are uniquely positioned to identify long-term water-management solutions that will secure a reliable water supply for wildlife and for people throughout the West. Our commitment to collaborating with water users, farmers, and other stakeholders allows Audubon to identify solutions that align habitat protection and restoration with improved water supplies for communities.

With this sophisticated approach, our solutions have real appeal at the negotiating tables where these new water-sharing agreements are being worked out. But crafting a solid framework is just the first step; with an engaged grassroots network of members, local chapters and state offices throughout the West, Audubon will also ensure that the policies it helps create are implemented to produce positive outcomes for birds and their habitats. Through strong collaboration and strategic, science-based conservation measures, we can ensure that every drop of water is used to maximize its benefit to both birds and people.

Audubon’s work on water is for all of us—taking care of people and their water supply is taking care of the birds and the environment. And the converse is true too: taking care of birds and the environment is taking care of people and their water.