U.S. and Mexican International Boundary and Water Commissioners sign an innovative, binational agreement to begin restoration of the Colorado River Delta.
The agreement, formally known as Minute 319, provided the legal framework for the pulse flow. It also included provisions for the U.S. and Mexico to share surpluses in times of plenty and reductions in times of drought, provides incentives for leaving water in storage, and conserves water through joint investments in projects from water users in both countries.
The pulse flow is officially announced by U.S. and Mexican federal policymakers.
International Boundary and Water Commissioners Edward Drusina and Roberto Fernando Salmon Castelo announce plans to move forward with a one–‐time release of water down the Colorado River into its channel in the Delta.
The gates at Morelos Dam are opened, marking the start of the pulse flow.
Approximately 105,392 acre-feet of water – nearly 1 percent of annual Colorado River flows – was released from Morelos Dam at the U.S.-Mexico border and made its way downstream into the long depleted Colorado River Delta.
U.S. and Mexican policymakers, water managers, conservation leaders, reporters and local community members gather at the border to watch the pulse flow rush through the gates of Morelos Dam at its highest flow rate.
Members of the binational Minute 319 negotiating team celebrated the culmination of what, for many, was decades of hard work. Hands were shaken, backs were patted, champagne was poured and toasts were made. It was the ultimate cheers-worthy moment.
Water from the pulse flow reaches San Luis Rio Colorado – a town named after the Colorado River – where local community members have come together in celebration.
For many, especially the young children, this was the first time they saw water in what was previously a dry, sandy, unrecognizable riverbed.
The pulse flow reaches Laguna Grande, a significant ecological restoration site in the Colorado River Delta.
Over the next year, ecologists will monitor the seedlings nourished by the pulse flow, hopefully watching them grow into saplings then into mature cottonwoods and willow trees. Vegetation that survives through the Fall 2014 will likely continue to grow in the delta year-round.
In an exciting, and long hoped-for milestone of the pulse flow, the Colorado River connects with the Gulf of California for the first time in decades.
Few believed it was possible – including some of the pulse flow’s most informed advocates – but the reunion was seen by all as a symbol of hope for the future.
Replanting Work Begins
Between 2015 and 2017 we’ve seen the restoration of more than 1,000 acres of riparian habitat, and the planting of more than 230,000 native trees.
Interim Monitoring Report Released
The bi-national Minute 319 Science Team, tasked with monitoring impacts from the water flows on the Colorado River Delta, released their interim research detailing the increase in birds, plants, and groundwater in the delta since the pulse flow. It demonstrated that these water flows in the Colorado River Basin created new habitat, increased bird diversity, and also provided a meaningful reconnection of local communities to the environment, offering hope for the region.
Minute 323 Adopted
On September 27, 2017, policymakers, water agencies, and conservation organizations from the US and Mexico formally adopted Minute 323, the successor addendum to Minute 319. This collaborative agreement provides for a more secure water future for all Colorado River water users and supports continued restoration of the Colorado River Delta.