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Protect the Flows Molly Mugglestone, Director P.O.

Box 772610 Steamboat Springs, CO 80477

August 6, 2012

Dear President Obama, I am looking forward to your visit to Grand Junction on August 8. Not everybody in these parts is as excited as I am, and some may not have plans to vote for you. However, I believe we all welcome the attention to our region and hope you use the time spent in Grand Junction to learn about our interests. Every single person in this community has a stake in the Colorado River, and we’re concerned about its future. That’s why I’m asking you to look out the window of Air Force One as you fly into Grand Junction on Wednesday. But more on that later. I work with Protect the Flows – a network of over 500 businesses throughout the West, from main street shops to agricultural producers, whose bottom lines depend on the Colorado River and its tributaries. Grand Junction is a place that showcases the diverse economic interests of businesses that rely upon this river system, such as farms, wineries, recreation outfitters and more. In your efforts to improve our nation’s economy, I hope you will recognize the immense economic value of the Colorado River and take steps to protect it. Every farmer and rancher in this area depends upon the Colorado River for agricultural water, as do farmers and ranchers in six other western states. The Colorado River irrigates nearly 4 million acres of land in the southwest, grows 15% of the America’s crops and feeds 13% of our nation’s livestock. Sustaining the Colorado River is essential if we want farming in the West to be possible for future generations of farmers. Our region’s economy depends heavily upon the agricultural sector, but our economic interest in the Colorado River doesn’t end there. Recreation on the Colorado River supports about 80,000 jobs in Colorado and results in nearly $10 billion in total economic output. Our energy


industry depends on the Colorado River, too. And the river provides our drinking water, as it does for 36 million Americans in total. Given these facts, perhaps it is no surprise that demand on the river’s water now exceeds its supply. As a result, we have lost 40% of stored water over the past 13 years on the river. Interior Secretary Salazar, along with the seven Colorado River states, is now examining how to bring the river back into balance. The final report is due out in September. I hope that you will ensure that this report does not collect dust on a shelf in D.C. Our community depends upon a strong flowing Colorado River, and we need leadership from Washington to help address this challenge. As we saw at the first ever Colorado River Day on July 25 here in Grand Junction, Democrats and Republicans agree that it is time to improve the efficiency with which we consume the Colorado River’s water. That means implementing cost-effective, common-sense measures for all of us to conserve water -- cities and farms. You can help right away by working with Congress to pass the Farm Bill, which now includes a provision that could direct existing USDA resources to Colorado River farmers to help us improve our water conservation. Again, welcome to Grand Junction, Mr. President. I wrote this letter to deliver a message supported by a great number of economic interests in our community. However, to cover all the bases, we spelled out a summary of this message in a field just to the southeast of the airport. You can see it when you fly in this week and look out the window of Air Force One: “Mr. Prez – We rely on the Colorado River.”

Sincerely, Molly Mugglestone