VIDEO: The Colorado River Reaches the Sea and Brings Life to its Delta
In the list of conservation success stories of 2014, the return of flow to the once-verdant Colorado Delta ranks high.
The spring pulse flow made possible by Minute 319, the groundbreaking agreement signed in late 2012 by the US and Mexico, brought the Colorado River to the Sea of Cortez for the first time in many years.
Though it returned less than 1 percent of the river’s historic flow to the delta, the surge released at Morelos Dam recharged groundwater, gave a needed drink to trees planted at critical habitat-restoration sites, and generally greened-up the river corridor.
The delta’s signs of come-back provide honest hope that the millions of birds who traverse the Pacific Flyway from Patagonia to Alaska might once again find welcome oases to feed and rest as they cross the vast Sonoran Desert.
But the hard work of the delta’s restoration continues.
Base flows, made possible through the Colorado River Delta Water Trust – a collaboration of Environmental Defense Fund, Pronatura Noroeste and the Sonoran Institute – will supply water to the vegetation that emerged during the pulse, as well as to the native cottonwoods, willows and mesquite trees planted at the restoration sites.