Gila River

Gila River

Infobox River
river_name = Gila River

caption = The Gila River, a tributary of the Colorado, is shown highlighted on a map of the southwestern United States
origin = Sierra County, New Mexico
mouth = Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona
basin_countries = United States, Mexico
length = 649 mi (1,044 km) Gnis|42838]
elevation =
mouth_elevation = 118 ft (36 m)
discharge = 6070 cfs
watershed = Colorado River
The Gila IPA|/'hilə/ River ( [O'odham language|O'odham [Pima] : Gila Akimel) is a tributary of the Colorado River, 650 miles (1,044 kilometers) long, in the southwestern states of New Mexico and Arizona.

The Gila River has its source in western New Mexico, in Sierra County on the western slopes of Continental Divide in the Black Range. It flows southwest through the Gila National Forest and the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, then westward into Arizona, past the town of Safford, Arizona, and along the southern slope of the Gila Mountains in Graham County. It emerges from the mountains into the valley southeast of Phoenix, Arizona, where it crosses the Gila River Indian Reservation as an intermittent stream due to large irrigation diversions. Well west of Phoenix, the river bends sharply southward, temporarily, along the "Gila Bend Mountains", and then it sharply bends westward again near the town of Gila Bend, Arizona. It flows southwestward through the Gila Mountains in Yuma County, and finally it flows into the Colorado at Yuma, Arizona.

The Gila River and its main tributary, the Salt River, would both be perennial streams carrying large volumes of water, but irrigation and municipal water diversions turn both into usually dry rivers. Below Phoenix to the Colorado River, the Gila is usually either a trickle or completely dry, as is also the lower Salt from Granite Reef Diversion Dam downstream to the Gila, but both rivers can carry large volumes of water following great rain storms. The natural mean flow of the Gila would be 6070 cubic feet per second at its mouth into the Colorado River, second only in volume of Colorado River tributaries to the Green River. The Gila River a long time ago was navigable by boats from its mouth to near the Arizona - New Mexico border. The width varied from 150 to convert|1200|ft|m with a depth of two to convert|40|ft|m.

After the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848, the Gila River served as a part of the border between the United States and Mexico until the Gadsden Purchase (1853) soon extended American territory well south of the Gila. The confluence of the Gila with the Colorado river was also used as a reference point for the southern border of California.

The only major dam on the Gila River is Coolidge Dam convert|31|mi|km southeast of Globe, Arizona, which forms the San Carlos Lake. The Painted Rock Dam crosses the Gila near Gila Bend, although the river is a transient one at that point. A number of minor diversion dams have been built on the river between the Painted Rock Dam and the Coolidge Dam, including the Gillespie Dam which was breeched during a flood in 1993.

The upper Gila River, including the entire length within New Mexico, is a free-flowing one. Recent efforts to allow for damming or otherwise diverting this stretch have met with stiff political resistance, having been named as one of the nation's most endangered rivers due to the threat of damming. New Mexico governor Bill Richardson has promised to block any such attempt during his term, and he has even considered pushing for a statutory prohibition against any such projects on the state's portion of the river. [cite news|url=|title=NM governor pledges to fight Gila River diversion|last=Massey|first=Barry|date=2008-04-17|accessdate=2008-06-04|publisher=Las Cruces Sun-News]

Gila Akimel O'odham

A band of Pima (autonym "Akimel O'odham", river people), the Gila Akimel O'odham (Gila River People), have lived on the banks of the Gila River since before the arrival of Spanish explorers. Popular theory says that the word "Gila" was derived from a Spanish contraction of Hah-quah-sa-eel, a Yuma Indian word meaning "running water which is salty". [cite web|url=|title=Gila National Forest|publisher=United States Forest Service|date=2003-12-04|accessdate=2007-10-16]

Their traditional way of life ("himdagĭ", sometimes rendered in English as Him-dak) was and is centered at the river, which is considered holy. Traditionally, sand from the banks of the river is used as an exfoliant when bathing (often in rainstorms, especially during the monsoon).

In the Gila River Indian Community, the traditional way of life has generally been better preserved than in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Some speculate this may be because the Gila River, a central aspect of the traditional way of life, still flows through the reservation year-round (although at times as an intermittent stream), while the Salt River does not.fact|date=October 2007

Boating Facility Features

* Paved Access
* Gravel Access
* Dirt Access
* Swimming
* Primitive Parking Area
* Camping Allowed

Fish Species

* Largemouth Bass
* Sunfish
* Catfish (Channel)
* Catfish (Flathead)

Variant names

The Gila River has also been known as:
* Akee-mull
* Apache de Gila
* Brazo de Miraflores
* Cina`ahuwipi
* Hah-quah-sa eel
* Hela River
* Jila River
* Rio Azul
* Rio Gila
* Rio de las Balsas
* Rio del Nombre Jesus
* Rio del los Apostoles
* Zila River
* Xila River
* Keli Akimel

ee also

*San Francisco River
*San Pedro River
*Santa Cruz River
*Agua Fria River (Arizona)
*List of Arizona rivers
*List of New Mexico rivers
*Gila River War Relocation Center
*Gila monster
*Needle's Eye Wilderness
*Gila and Salt River Meridian

External links

* [ Arizona Boating Locations Facilities Map]
* [ Arizona Fishing Locations Map]
* [ Where to Fish in Arizona Species Information]
* [ Arizona Lake Levels]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gila River — Einzugsgebiet und Verlauf des Gila Rivers Daten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gila River — River, New Mexico and Arizona, U.S. Rising in southwestern New Mexico in the Elk Mountains, near the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, it flows 630 mi (1,015 km) west over desert land to the Colorado River at Yuma, Ariz. Coolidge Dam (1928) …   Universalium

  • Gila River —   [ dʒiːlə rɪvə], linker Nebenfluss des unteren Colorado River, im Südwesten der USA, 1 014 km lang, entspringt am Rand des Coloradoplateaus in New Mexico, durchfließt Arizona und mündet bei Yuma. Im Tal des Gila River wird Bewässerungsfeldbau… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Gila River Indian Community Emergency Medical Services — The Gila River Indian Community Emergency Medical Services (Gila River EMS) provides Paramedic Ambulance and Rescue Services for the Gila River Indian Community. [ [ Gric] ] A subsidiary of the Tribally owned Gila River… …   Wikipedia

  • Gila River Valley — The Gila River Valley is a multi sectioned valley of the Gila River, mostly in Arizona. The Gila River forms in western New Mexico and flows west across southern eastern, south central, and southwestern Arizona; it changes directions across the… …   Wikipedia

  • Gila River War Relocation Center — [ 300px|thumb|Interned Japanese Americans displaying their patriotism. Note the Morse Code dit dit dit dah), representing the V for Victory slogan] The Gila River War Relocation Center was an internment camp built by the War Relocation Authority… …   Wikipedia

  • Gila River Indian Community — The Gila River Indian Community is an Indian reservation in Arizona, USA, lying adjacent to the south side of the city of Phoenix, within the Phoenix Metropolitan Area in Pinal and Maricopa Counties. It was established in 1859, and formally… …   Wikipedia

  • Gila-River-Reservat — Das Gila River Reservat (engl. Gila River Indian Reservation) ist ein Indianerreservat im US Bundesstaat Arizona im Gebiet des Gila River. Es liegt im Süden von Phoenix, Tempe und Chandler. In dem Reservat leben 14.000 Einwohner auf 1.505 km².… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gila-River-Reservation — Das Gila River Reservat (engl. Gila River Indian Reservation) ist ein Indianerreservat im US Bundesstaat Arizona im Gebiet des Gila River. Es liegt im Süden von Phoenix, Tempe und Chandler. In dem Reservat leben 14.000 Einwohner auf 1.505 km².… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gila River Indian Reservation — Die Gila River Indian Reservation ist ein Indianerreservat im US Bundesstaat Arizona im Gebiet des Gila River. Es liegt im Süden von Phoenix, Tempe und Chandler. In dem Reservat leben 14.000 Einwohner auf 1.505 km². Das Reservat wurde 1859… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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