Conservationists cheer withdrawal of dam proposal for Colorado’s Arkansas River

Contact: Matt Rice, 303-454-3395; Amy Kober, 503-708-1145

November 28, 2012

Denver – Colorado’s Arkansas River will remain one of the nation’s most popular rivers for fishing and paddling, now that a 20-year-old dam proposal is officially dead. American Rivers applauded Friends of the Arkansas River for their dedication to preserving a free-flowing Arkansas River and advocating alternative water supply solutions.

In 1990, Colorado Springs Utilities proposed the Elephant Rock Dam and Reservoir and the Mount Princeton Dam and Diversion near Buena Vista. Had they been built, the dams would have severely damaged the Arkansas River’s health by degrading water quality and disrupting natural flows. The dams would have also impacted economically valuable recreation like fishing and rafting, and would have inundated homes and private property upstream. Colorado Springs Utilities worked to identify alternatives to these projects and withdrew its dam and reservoir application earlier in the year. The utility is pursuing the Southern Delivery System, a more cost-effective, reliable, and environmentally responsible water supply solution which will bring Arkansas River water stored in Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs.

“Perseverance has finally paid off,” said Dick Scars of Friends of the Arkansas. “We’re very happy that future generations will be able to enjoy a free-flowing Arkansas River.”

“This is a great victory for everyone who benefits from a free-flowing Arkansas River, and it’s also good news for the people of Colorado Springs who are getting more reliable and more cost effective water supplies,” said Matt Rice, Colorado Conservation Director for American Rivers. “American Rivers is committed to safeguarding the Arkansas, and all of the state’s rivers, from harmful dams, and we will continue to help communities find the right water supply solutions.”


American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit, and