Rivers are the lifeblood of our public lands. Without healthy watersheds and rivers our public lands and western landscapes cannot sustain life. Protection and restoration of our watersheds provides fishing, paddling and other recreation, connects our communities to parks and other natural treasures, and gives us clean water – the number one environmental concern among Americans. Energy development, mining, roads, drought, dewatered streams and the effects of climate change are some of the magnitude of threats facing our watersheds.

In the United States, 66 million people in 3,400 communities nationwide receive most of their water supply from National Forests, and have industries that depend on rivers - almost a quarter of Americans are directly affected by how the watersheds in our national forests are managed.  Given the stresses that climate change will impose on our streams and rivers, EcoFlight continues to work with the U.S. Forest Service as they adopt forest management plans to ensure that our rivers and watersheds can absorb disturbance and adjust to change.

Watersheds by state
FLIGHTS: Watersheds
Arizona & Nevada - Lake Mead
State: Arizona, Nevada
Region: on the border of Arizona and Nevada
Description: Lake Mead was once considered the largest reservoir in the U.S., with 28 million acre-feet of water. Unfortunately, because of increasing droughts, growing demand, and flawed political projections, Lake Mead has not reached full capacity since 1983. Continue Reading..
Arizona & Utah - Lake Powell
State: Arizona, Utah
Region: Upper Colorado Basin
Description: Lake Powell on the border of Utah and Arizona was created when the controversial Glen Canyon Dam was built and flooded Glen Canyon in 1963. Current demand and drought conditions however, are causing parts of Glen Canyon to return.
Arizona - Proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument
State: Arizona
Region: Grand Canyon Watershed
Description: More than 100 years ago President Theodore Roosevelt designated the Grand Canyon as a national monument, and since then much more of the Grand Canyon ecosystem has been protected. But the watershed, which includes tributary canyons, grasslands and springs that flow into the Colorado River and Grand Canyon, is still threatened by grazing, increasing motorized use, logging and uranium mining.
Colorado - Coal Creek Reclamation
State: Colorado
Region: Crystal River Watershed
Description: Coal Creek, which flows into the Crystal near Redstone, has been impacted by 50 years of coal mining operations. This has resulted in extremely unstable, steep slopes, exposed mining tailings, causing erosion, pollution, sedimentation and stream health issues...read more
Colorado - Dolores River
State: Colorado
Region: Southwest Colorado, Canyon County
Description: The Dolores River Canyon is a pristine desert area containing some of the most outstanding canyon scenery in Colorado. It includes benchlands and mesa uplands, portions of five tributary canyons, and a segment is recommended as a wild river under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act... read more
Colorado - Hermosa Creek
State: Colorado
Region: San Juan National Forest, Southwest Colorado
Description: In December of 2014 a bill passed both the House and the Senate that would protect the Hermosa Creek area and govern the future of the 150,000-acre Hermosa Roadless Area, and over 62 miles of Hermosa Creek and tributaries. The Hermosa Creek watershed encompasses one of Colorado's largest and most biologically diverse forests... read more
Colorado - Mesa County Mudslide
State: Colorado
Region: Mesa County
Description: A sea of mud and debris flowed down the green foothills of western Colorado’s Grand Mesa on May 25th, 2014, carving a path of destruction 3 miles long and a half-mile wide.
Colorado - Roaring Fork Watershed
State: Colorado
Description: With a watershed that encompasses an area of nearly 1,500 miles and contributing about 306 billion gallons of water to the Colorado River each year, the Roaring Fork River, including eight 14,000 foot peaks, is central to water conservation efforts on the Western slope... read more
Colorado River Basin
State: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
Region: Colorado River Basin
Description: In April of 2013 the Colorado River was named the most endangered river in the country. An outdated system is promising more water than it can supply to a growing number of uses. The river is the major water artery in the Southwest, a region that is drier than the deserts of North Africa. In spite of the lack of rainfall and very high summer temperatures, this dry desert is now home to tens of millions of people and includes some of the major agricultural areas in the United States... read more
Colorado River Delta
State: Arizona
Region: Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Description: For 6 million years the Colorado River flowed from high in the Rocky Mountains all the way to the Sea of Cortez. But since 1960 it has not regularly flowed to its delta, drying up before it reaches its final destination. Now, thanks to a recent agreement between the US and Mexico, the last 70 miles of the Colorado River are getting a gush of water, or “pulse flow” during the Spring of 2014, in an effort to revive the dried up Delta. This is the first time in history that water has been sent to the Delta in the name of conservation.
Crystal River - Proposed Dams
State: Colorado
Region: Crystal City, CO to Glenwood Springs, CO
Description: In 2012, American Rivers named the Crystal one of America’s most endangered rivers. After diversions for irrigation, the river slows to nearly a trickle at the confluence, leaving little to no room for any other water projects if the river is to remain in healthy condition.
Grand Canyon National Park
State: Arizona
Description: The fragility of Grand Canyon's seeps and springs epitomizes the water issues sprinkling the arid landscape of the Greater Grand Canyon region. A good portion of the Colorado Plateau receives less than 10 inches of rainfall per year, a figure expected to drop further as climate change continues... read more
Kansas - Missouri River
State: Missouri
Description: The Missouri River is a major river of central North America. At over 2,540 miles, it is the longest river on the continent. Throughout its history of industrialization and commerce, the Missouri has been severely polluted and degraded by human activities along its shores... read more
Montana - Clark Fork River
State: Montana
Description: The Clark Fork watershed is a 22,000 square mile area that drains northern Idaho and nearly the entire western portion of Montana. It is home to over a third of Montana's population. The river and its tributaries have a biological, economic, and cultural impact on the entire Northern Rockies... read more
Montana - East Rosebud Creek
State: Montana
Description: To preserve one of Montana's most hidden treasures, Senator Jon Tester and Senator Steve Daines introduced a bill to designate the East Rosebud Creek as wild and scenic in 2015. The bill, written with local input through years of collaboration, will protect 20 miles of East Rosebud Creek under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This designation will preserve the free-flowing condition of the pristine creek located south of Roscoe, Montana. Representative Ryan Zinke also introduced similar legislation in the House.
Montana - Tin Cup - Dam Restoration
State: Montana
Region: Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness
Montana, North Fork of the Flathead River
State: Montana
Region: Whitefish, Montana

In December 2014, Congress passed the North Fork Watershed Protection Act to safeguard the North Fork Flathead River Valley (headwaters to Glacier Park and Flathead Lake). The legislation furnishes permanent protections on the U.S. side of the North Fork watershed and precludes new oil and gas development and mining.  Continue reading...

Utah - Green River
State: Utah
Description: The Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam in far northeastern Utah has world class trout fishing which is a big part of our Western culture and heritage. The river is targeted for a trans-basin water diversion project which could certainly threaten this magnificent river and the fishing there... read more
Utah - White River Basin
State: Colorado, Utah
Description: The White River Basin contains some of the best fish and wildlife habitat in the Colorado River Basin. The presence, and the opportunity for expansion, of native Colorado River Cutthroat Trout in the basin’s high-elevation tributaries makes the White a candidate for landscape-level protection... read more
Washington - Yakima Basin Integrated Plan
State: Washington
Region: Yakima River Basin
Description: The Yakima Basin Integrated Plan would protect over 200,000 acres of land and about 200 miles of river; improve water quality and quantity; restore salmon and steelhead populations; improve natural and built infrastructure; drive a healthy economy and return jobs to the woods in the Yakima Basin.
Washington, Yakima Basin - Western Governors Association 2012
State: Washington
Region: Pacific Northwest
Description: EcoFlight flew governors and their staff over proposed Alpine Lakes wilderness; an integrated water management plan in the Yakima River Basin; the wildlife overpass on I-90 and some of the great natural areas that Washington has to offer, like the Snoqualmie Summit and the Cascade Mountain Range... read more
Wyoming - Little Snake and Yampa Rivers
State: Wyoming
Region: Southern Wyoming
Description: The Little Snake River Valley is one of the few remaining intact river valleys in the West that has not experienced rampant development. The area is critical wildlife habitat for many species including the largest and most robust population of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse found anywhere in the central Rockies... read more