One of the big unknowns of the pulse flow of water currently working its way down the channel of the Colorado River in its delta is whether that water will reach the sea. The mouth of the Colorado River drained historically into the Upper Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), a unique body of water that Jacques Cousteau called “the world’s aquarium.” But with dams and diversions of Colorado River water serving a population of more than 35 million in the United States and Mexico, the Colorado River hasn’t reached its destination regularly since before 1960.
The pulse flow started on March 23, and will continue through May 18. The flow rate varies over time, by design meant to inundate the channel and later to recede slowly and stimulate germination of the seeds that will grow into native cottonwood and willow trees. In order to do this work the pulse flow waters must travel some 25 miles (40 kilometers) of sand that typically exist in the midst of the river’s 100-mile (160-kilometer) run in its delta.
Jennifer Pitt, Environmental Defense Fund