In what must be one of the most sought-after field research projects in the West, Will Stauffer-Norris and Zak Podmore, two Colorado College alumni, are embarking on a four-month journey down the Colorado River as part of the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project, 7News reports.
Stauffer-Norris and Podmore "Source to Sea" segment of the State of the Rockies Project follows the pair as they travel down the entire length of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Beginning in Wyoming and, approximately four months later, ending at the Sea of Cortez in Mexico the pair will have finally traversed the river from its source all the way down to sea, according to the State of the Rockies Source To Sea website.
Or, almost the sea -- the Colorado River, which ran into the sea for nearly 6 million years, has stopped short of the Sea of Cortez since the '90s, ending in a dried-out delta of fertilizers, plastic bottles and other garbage which Jon Waterman captured famously in his own Colorado River rafting trip which he documented in his book "Running Dry: A Journey from Source to Sea Down the Colorado River."
The Green and Colorado Rivers span 1700 miles from Wyoming to Mexico sustaining 27 million people in the Southwest, and Podmore and Stauffer-Norris intend to report on the environmental issues that impact the river along the way. Much of their journey can be followed via blog posts and photos at their Source To Sea blog or videos at the State of the Rockies Project Youtube channel.
The health of the The Colorado River has been of concern to environmentalists for years due to the decades of water diversions that have drained the river substantially over the last 100 years and even landed a the Upper Colorado River on America's Most Endangered Rivers list in 2010, according to environmental group American Rivers.
The two field researchers began their journey at Wyoming's Wind River Range on Oct.12. After packrafting through the headwaters of the Green River for five days, the pair finally began their kayak trip down the Green River. On Sunday, the pair still paddling down the Green, crossed into Utah where the Green joins the Colorado in the Southeast corner of the state, according to their SPOT GPS page. Yesterday, the pair were about 3 miles upriver from Ouray, Utah.
The State of the Rockies Project, now in its ninth year, seeks to increase public understanding of the vital issues affecting the Rockies. Read the State of the Rockies Project Prospectus here for more information.
Follow the progress of Stauffer-Norris and Podmore at the Source to Sea SPOT GPS page.