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Channeling the Colorado
River Delta Back From the
Dead
By: Peter
Getty
8/21/
14

As a matter of geographic trivia…

Did you ever
wonder where the
Colorado River
drains into the
ocean?

01

It Doesn’t.

Like too many of the world’s great rivers today, the
Colorado River never makes it to the ocean in any
recognizable form.

In fact, it’s rarely been closer than
a hundred miles to its natural
drainage point, into the Gulf of
California, its remnants diverted by

As you might expect, the
disappearance of the Colorado River,
which fows 1,450 miles from the
Rocky Mountains to the Sea of
Cortez, has had a rather dramatic

And not for the
better.

Almost 30 years of the
river rarely reaching the
sea, has resulted in an
immense stretch of
riparian forest having all
but completely
disappeared, replaced by
invasive tamarisk shrubs.

01

This has deprived
hundreds of migratory
bird species of a
previously important
place to rest and
shelter during their
arduous crossing of
the Sonora Desert.
01

As it turns out, however, it may be
possible to restore much of the delta with
some surprisingly reasonable water
management practices.

An agreement between the US and Mexico
called Minute 319 was signed in November of
2012, and last March, in accordance with it,
the first "pulse flow" -- basically a small
simulated spring flood along the delta -occurred.

01

Scientists and observers from
universities and government
agencies of both countries
were there to see what would
happen, and the results, by
all accounts, have been
extremely promising.

A periodic artificial food
has already hinted strongly
that the delta is dormant,
not dead

01

It's nice to see some good news for a
change.

The fact the water flowing down the main river channel was tapped for the
exclusive benefit of the environment, may well be an unprecedented
demonstration of cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico on much
needed environmental sustainability issues.

Channeling the Colorado
River Delta Back From the
Dead
By: Peter
Getty
8/21/
14

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