Snowmass Mountain looms 14,092 feet above the Roaring Fork River—a tributary of the Colorado. Up to 90 percent of the Colorado’s water comes from snowmelt.
Throughout the Colorado River Basin, fishing waters like those of the Roaring Fork River near Basalt, Colorado, lure anglers and many river-related businesses.
“The Loop” is located six miles above the Green River confluence in Canyonlands National Park, 50 miles downstream of Moab, Utah.
The milky waters of the Little Colorado River tributary in the Grand Canyon are the last sanctuary
for the endangered humpback chub, whose populations are monitored by tags implanted
by marine biologists.
Looking east through a dawn wildfire haze, the Grand Canyon Village sits on the South Rim (right) of Grand Canyon National Park.
Built “to make the desert bloom,” Hoover Dam faces a diminishing river due to climate change and urban growth. If the ongoing drought lowers the reservoir another 50 feet (currently down more than 125 feet), the hydroelectric turbines will be inoperable.
The Central Arizona Project canal pumps Colorado River water out of Lake Havasu and 336 miles east and uphill to supply Phoenix, Tucson, and 12 sets of aquifer recharge ponds.
On Cocopah Indian-leased fields in Somerton, Arizona, workers pick, bag, and box the crop that ships directly from the field to the market. This frost-free Colorado River-irrigated region spans 75 miles. From November-December all of the U.S. relies on Arizona and California farms for lettuce.
A fishing boat sits abandoned in delta mudflats where ancestral fishing once supported 20,000 Native Americans. Now, 1,500 Kwapa (Cucapá and Cocopah) people on either side of the border depend on casinos, farming, and odd jobs for employment.
Fifty miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border, the Colorado River Delta and its once-rich estuary wetlands—reduced by 95 percent since the river was restricted by dams—are now as parched as the surrounding Sonoran Desert.
Photographer Pete McBride (at right) meets with the U.S. Border Patrol. The Colorado River forms the US/Mexican border for 23 miles. Due to the tense airspace in the area with drug trafficking, the best option to shoot that region was with the armed patrol.