With Water, Life Returns to the Colorado River Delta

Seeds of a riverbank willow wait to be released by the wind along the Colorado River. An experimental flow of water during the spring of 2014 was designed to regenerate habitat in the Colorado Delta. Cheryl Zook/National Geographic
Seeds of a riverbank willow wait to be released by the wind along the Colorado River. An experimental pulse of water during the spring of 2014 was designed to regenerate habitat in the Colorado Delta. Cheryl Zook/National Geographic

Last spring, on the eighth day of the release of Colorado River water into its channel at the US-Mexico border – an event known as the “pulse flow” – I witnessed something extraordinary.

Like most mornings, I headed out with my National Geographic team before dawn to find the leading edge of the river as it slowly made its way toward the sea.

This pulse of water, made possible by a historic agreement between the US and Mexico, was sending water through the Colorado Delta for the first time in many years. Once a 3,000 square mile (7,770 square kilometer) expanse of wetlands, lagoons and cottonwood-willow forests, the Colorado Delta was now a desiccated place due to a century of dam-building to supply water to burgeoning cities and farms in the American Southwest.

That morning, as often happened during those days tracking the river, I ran into a group of scientists who were studying this grand ecological experiment.

Along with Karl Flessa, professor of —> Read More Here

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