The resulting environmental impacts of Colorado River development have been dramatic, however, including widespread destruction arid alteration of fisheries habitat(551) and major water quality problems in the form of excess salinity from irrigation return flows and other sources.(552) Congress only recently launched an effort to address at least some of the habitat problems caused by the river's dams.(553) Congressional efforts to address the salinity problem, however, date back two decades to the Colorado River Salinity Control Act (CRSCA).(554)
Congress passed CRSCA primarily to honor treaties with Mexico and not as an ideological move toward watershed protection.(555) As a result, the law lacks many of the elements of a comprehensive watershed approach.
Despite these criticisms about costs and methods, the program has achieved some success in numeric terms by removing large amounts of salt from the river, although the Department of Interior, (DOI) acknowledges that the CRSCA program still requires additional measures to maintain salinity within acceptable levels.(559) Moreover, the law does have a number of components capable of application to broader watershed protection efforts.