The declining quality and availability of fresh water in the Colorado River is putting wildlife at risk. A report released this month by the Endangered Species Coalition highlights 10 species that are endangered as a result of water mismanagement. In Colorado, that includes four species of fish in the Colorado River.
Leda Huta, the executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition, explains why this report is so significant.
"When we look at the country and what we've done to our fresh water resources, it's frightening. Every animal has its role to play in the ecosystem."
The report finds the bonytail chub is functionally extinct, while three other species - the Colorado pike minnow, the humpback chub and the razorback sucker - are all declining in population because of non-native invasions, declining water, and river pollution. Other creatures on the national list include salmon, antelope and mountain yellow-legged frogs.
Huta says the declining availability and quality of water comes at a time when the planet can expect to have less fresh water available because of global warming.
"We will see more drought and water scarcities due to climate change that we've created and to having an increasing population, so those two together are going to have even greater impact on our fresh water."
The report highlights things people can do to reduce their demand on fresh water, which makes up only 1 percent of the water on the planet. That includes landscaping with native plants, reducing the size of lawns, and using water-efficient appliances and toilets.
The report is at StopExtinction.org.