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Sustaining Our Most Endangered River

The Colorado River is LightHawk's newest strategic initiative. We're dedicated to ensuring this mighty, yet endangered river can support the 16 million jobs and $1.4 trillion in annual economic activity it generates despite increasing demands.

Colorado’s Front Range, shown here, is one of the many areas increasing demand on the Colorado River, America’s most endangered river. We hope to guide smart growth in the semi-arid areas that depend on this once-mighty river. Photo: Summer Waters/Sonoran Institute

"Where will the next bucket of water come from?"

Summer Waters couldn’t stop thinking about it.

As she boarded a LightHawk flight over Colorado’s Front Range, the fact that the Colorado River is the most endangered river in America kept coming to mind. And seeing the watershed from the air reinforced her desire to make a difference.

“These flights confirmed the incredible demands being placed on the Colorado River Basin, which will force tough water decisions to be made in the near future,” said Summer, director of Western Lands and Communities for Sonoran Institute, one of LightHawk’s key Strategic Partners. “Our entire lifestyle is based on water. You can only put an ecosystem under so much stress before it loses its resilience and can’t bounce back.”

LightHawk and Sonoran Institute know that’s why it’s important to create long-term water plans now.
You may be aware that seven states depend on the Colorado River, which flows from the Rocky Mountains west to the Gulf of California. Some of that water, however, is pumped back to Colorado’s Front Range to support its demanding growth — from 2 million in 1975 to 5.5 million today, and an estimated increase of 2.3 million people by 2040.

You might imagine the challenge we face in maintaining enough flow to support the 16 million jobs and $1.4 trillion in annual economic activity that comes from this river on both sides of the continental divide. How do we preserve this source of life for millions that has channeled its way into our hearts, and is so critical to our health and well-being?

The first step at LightHawk is the formation of a new Strategic Initiative around this problem. With your help, we will provide more flights for media, stakeholders, government officials, corporations, and planning groups along the entire Front Range.

Will you help LightHawk connect skilled, caring pilots with the most important conservation initiatives?

Your steadfast giving will help us galvanize communities around this most precious of earth’s resources – fresh water. When you give to LightHawk, you unleash a flurry of activity and create meaningful change, making the very best use of every dollar you contribute. You allow our Program Managers to seek the most important conservation projects and partners, and to develop flight campaigns that have real impact on our most pressing problems. You activate our network of skilled pilots who, like you, help us save the planet one flight at a time.

We urgently need your continuing support to ensure drinking water in Colorado, advance one of the largest conservation projects in history in the Florida Everglades, and to save the critically endangered California condor.

Will you help LightHawk protect majestic landscapes, save threatened wildlife and help us leave the Earth better than we found it?