• Joseph Marcheso ’96, music director and principal conductor of Opera San Jose and a staff conductor at the San Francisco Opera, reveals his four favorite operas.
  • Andrew Lohse ’12, outspoken critic of Greek life, visits a “Writing 5” class.
  • Cynde McInnis ’94 takes her cetacean obsession on the road with Nile, a 43-foot inflatable humpback “Whalemobile.”
  • Publisher Austin Beutner ’82 is showing the largest news organization on the West Coast how to thrive in a digital world.
Bravissimo!
Joseph Marcheso ’96, music director and principal conductor of Opera San Jose and a staff conductor at the San Francisco Opera, reveals his four favorite operas.
Features

Drama King

A look back at the singular, turbulent life of twice-expelled Walter Wanger (rhymes with “danger”), class of 1915, who became one of Hollywood’s most prolific, if not law-abiding, producers.
Features

Television’s Wonder Woman

Showrunner Shonda Rhimes ’91 breathes new life into prime time with a Thursday night lineup to die for.
Features

The Art of War

Artist Daniel Heyman ’85 uses his medium as a message about the atrocities of torture and abuse.
Features

Not Lost in Translation

Professor Margaret Williamson shows students how language serves as a window into human nature and cultural distinctions.
Features

The Italicized Life of Frank Wilderson ’78

The author, filmmaker, professor (and former stockbroker, elected official and urban guerrilla) abides by his publisher’s credo: Read. Write. Revolt.

Photo Gallery

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  • Rio Reborn
    Local cowboys come to what is typically a river of sand to welcome their new guest: agua. The binational agreement to release water for the environment in 2014 was the first of its kind among the 260 rivers that cross international boundaries.
    1/12
  • Fall Flow
    Throughout the Colorado River Basin, gold medal fishing waters—like those of the Roaring Fork River near Basalt, Colorado—lure anglers and many river-related businesses.
    2/12
  • Shadowed Sentinels
    Horses in the headwaters and throughout the basin depend upon hay, the predominant crop of the river. Collectively, agriculture consumes more than 70 percent of the Colorado River’s water. While flying at 600 feet near the headwaters in Colorado, McBride yelled, “Bank, bank, bank!” at his father the pilot, who banked the Cessna 180 degrees up on one wing in order to get the right perspective.
    3/12
  • Industry on the Banks of the Colorado
    Settling ponds southwest of Moab use dyed-blue Colorado River water to increase evaporation for the processing of potash. The mineral is mined from salt formations 3,000 feet below the Canyonlands and transported out by rail to be made into fertilizer.
    4/12
  • Marble Canyon
    Downstream from Lees Ferry and below the Navajo Reservation, water flows serenely through Marble Canyon in the upper Grand Canyon. In the late 1960s, Sierra Club Director David Brower defeated a proposed dam here. His media campaign financed full-page ads in national newspapers, including: “Now Only You Can Save Grand Canyon From Being Flooded ... For Profit.” Exploratory drill holes from the aborted project can still be found in the Redwall Limestone.
    5/12
  • Hoover Dam
    Last summer, Lake Mead, the reservoir created by Hoover Dam, reached its record low water mark at 39 percent. Completed in 1936, this 70-story dam was the greatest manmade structure after the Wall of China. For two decades it also reigned as the largest power plant. Built “to make the desert bloom,” the dam faces a diminishing river due to climate change, urban growth and overallocation. If the ongoing drought lowers the reservoir another 50 feet, the hydroelectric turbines will be inoperable.
    6/12
  • Central Arizona Project
    In 1968, after four decades of lawsuits, the federal government allowed the desert state its $3.6 billion Central Arizona Project (the state has 50 years to repay the U.S. Treasury $1.7 billion of the total). The canal pumps Colorado River water out of Lake Havasu and 336 miles east and uphill to supply Phoenix, Tucson and 12 sets of aquifer recharge ponds due to a depleted water table.
    7/12
  • Gila River
    The last major tributary of the Colorado River, the Gila River, runs dry today and is only a strip of green agricultural lands as it winds through the Sonoran desert in Arizona just north of Mexico.
    8/12
  • End of a River
    Jon Waterman, who paddled the entire 1450 miles of the Colorado, comes to the river’s unnatural end, two miles into Mexico, trapped in tamarisk and a cesspool of plastic, fertilizers and mud. (He completed his journey on foot accompanied by McBride). By the time the Colorado River reaches its delta, its water has been re-used eight times.
    9/12
  • Dry Artery
    A Cucapá’s (person of the river) fishing boat sits abandoned in delta mudflats where ancestral fishing once supported 20,000 Native Americans. Now 1,500 Kwapa (Cucapá and Cocopah) on either side of the border depend on casinos, farming and odd jobs for employment. Fishing is illegal in the protected ocean water of the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve, but many test their luck with the law.
    10/12
  • Walking the Delta
    Waterman walks the cracked, dry earth of the Colorado River Delta, once the largest estuary in North America. Due to overallocation, it is a river of sand today.
    11/12
  • Kissing the Sea
    For the first time in nearly two decades, the Colorado River kissed the Sea of Cortez in May 2014. The river ran to the sea for six million years, but overconsumption dried the river completely in 1998. Another pulse flow will be negotiated between the U.S. and Mexico in five years. In the meantime, a small base flow will support the fauna that spawned last spring.
    12/12

Supplying water to 36 million people and four million acres of farmland, the Colorado River is the lifeline to seven states in the Southwest. It is also vanishing. Drought, population growth and a changing climate are playing a hand, but there are simply too many straws in the drink. Many worked to restore the river’s delta in 2014, but was it enough? Photographer Pete McBride ’93 has been following the Colorado for six years to document life—and death—along this once-mighty waterway. Here are a few of his images.

Related: DAM cover story on McBride, Jan/Feb 2002

Rio Reborn
Local cowboys come to what is typically a river of sand to welcome their new guest: agua. The binational agreement to release water for the environment in 2014 was the first of its kind among the 260 rivers that cross international boundaries.
1/12
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