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U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3099

In cooperation with the Navajo Nation

A Dryland River Transformed—The Little Colorado, 1936–2010

By Debra Block and Margaret Hiza Redsteer

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (6.6 MB)Summary

The Little Colorado River, in northeastern Arizona, is a major tributary of the Colorado River. Over a span of 74 years, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has mapped substantial migration of the river channel between the City of Winslow and the Navajo Nation community of Leupp (Tólchíí kooh). In a human lifetime, the river has moved more than 1 mile across its valley floor. Channel migration and flooding pose a considerable risk to the life and property of people living near the river. USGS scientists are working to better understand the potential for further channel adjustments and flooding to help provide communities at risk with the information they need to address these threats and make future development decisions.

  • This report is also available in print from:

    USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
    Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
    telephone: 888 ASK-USGS; e-mail:

For additional information:
Contact Information, Western Region Geology and Geophysics Field Science Center—Flagstaff
U.S. Geological Survey
2255 N. Gemini Drive
Flagstaff, AZ 86001-1600

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Suggested citation:

Block, Debra, and Redsteer, M.H., 2011, A dryland river transformed—the Little Colorado, 1936–2010: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3099, 4 p., available at

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