For more than two weeks, the Colorado River has been flowing in its delta, through more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) of recently bone-dry river channel choked with desert scrub. The flow is all too brief, lasting only eight weeks in all. The United States and Mexico are demonstrating how a “pulse flow” of water can bring environmental benefits to this long-parched reach of the river. The last 100 miles (160 kilometers) of the Colorado are a critical link in the Pacific Flyway, and new habitat can help the hundreds of species of birds that depend on it.
But for now, the principal species benefitting from the flow is us. People love this river!
From the first day the water appeared, the community has come out in droves to see the river. Some older folks are marveling in a sight they thought they would never see again. Parents bring their children – there’s a whole generation being introduced to the river for the very first time.
Earlier today we posted Jennifer Pitt’s photographs from the area. Read her wonderful article about the impact of the Colorado River on its neighboring communities.
These photographs, taken by Jennifer Pitt at the Environmental Defense Fund, illustrate the truly dramatic changes happening near the Colorado River Delta. Until March 25th, 2014, large swaths of the river channel were just sand. Now, an entire generation is meeting its river for the first time.
The Colorado River is an extraordinary river whose currents flow not just in one direction, but in many directions across landscapes and borders, meeting many needs and demands.
Last month, the Colorado River began to flow once again toward the Gulf of California as part of an unprecedented agreement to improve the riparian environment of the river and the Colorado River Delta. But even more important than the riparian-area restoration and scientific studies that will result from this effort is that the action is part of a new and historic agreement between Mexico and the United States. This partnership — crafted under a 1944 treaty — demonstrates what can be achieved when neighbors work together.
Photo: Mark Henie, The Republic
We have been thrilled by the widespread coverage of the successful pulse flow in the Colorado River. That event, and the all the conservation efforts that will follow, are a direct result of a binational agreement between the United States and Mexico called Minute 319. We hope that as more of us rally around successful agreements like these, governments on both sides of the border see how much we want more Minute 319 agreements in the future.
Chances are you’ve seen Watershed, the amazing documentary about the Colorado River, it’s use, and the water ethics of the American West.
(No? That’s OK. Check it out here. It’ll be our little secret.)
We’re such big fans of the documentary that we’re excited to poke around the new Watershed store. Cool gear includes everything from Raise the River tshirts to Move The Ocean tote bags. We think it’s clear which one’s we’ll be getting.
Stop by. Show your support. Pick up something cool!