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Colorado River once again--briefly--flows to the sea

On March 23, the floodgates of the Morelos Dam, near Yuma, Arizona opened, unleashing a three-day "pulse" into the dry Colorado River delta. The waters recently reached the Sea of Cortez, and a group of scientists and journalists were there to raft it. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jun 14, 2014 - 18 comments

Minute 319

Last November, after five years of remarkable negotiations that unfolded far from the Delta, representatives from the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a complex, multi-part water deal that will give them desperately needed flexibility for weathering the drought. More surprisingly, the two nations will join the team of environmental organizations to release a flood of more than 105,000 acre-feet of water – 3.8 million big-rig tankers' worth – into the Delta's ancient floodplain, and chase it with a smaller, permanent annual flow to sustain the ecosystem.

It is the unlikeliest of times to pull off a deal like this. Rather than hoarding all the water for themselves in this drought –– the river supplies some 35 million people –– the West's largest water agencies have pledged to send some all the way to the sea. That move is, to some extent, a long-overdue acknowledgment that the U.S. bears responsibility for the impacts its dams have caused beyond its borders. And after years of fruitless court fights in the U.S. by environmental groups, the Mexican government finally insisted that water for the Delta be a cornerstone of the broader deal.
For High Country News, Matt Jenkins describes the most ambitious water sharing plan ever created between Mexico and the United States (single page print version). For much more about this project and the water issues surrounding it, there's Eli Rabett's roundup of John Fleck's blogposts about this. (Or read the tl;dr version by Alex Harrowell.)
posted by MartinWisse on May 10, 2014 - 9 comments

Into The Great Unknown

In 1869 John Wesley Powell lead an expedition down the Green and Colorado rivers including the first documented passage through the Grand Canyon. Now, geologist, teacher and blogger Gary Hayes writes a post a day about each day he spent on his own journey Into The Great Unknown, a rafting trip 226 miles down the Canyon that he just completed. Start here. Come for the fabulous pictures, stay for the geology, wild life both past and present. And when you're done stick around and checkout many of the other great past series on this blog (scroll down).
posted by Long Way To Go on Aug 28, 2013 - 6 comments

3D Mapping

Durango Bill's Home Page. With topics that include: 3D end-to-end tour of the Grand Canyon, the origin and formation of the Colorado River, and examples of river systems that cut through mountain ranges instead of taking easier routes around them in Ancestral Rivers of the World. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jul 22, 2009 - 5 comments

The formerly wondrous Colorado River delta

Behold the Colorado River delta. Home to 400 species of plants and wildlife, it once had beaches of clams, groves of native cottonwood and megatons of shrimp and commercial fish. The wetlands now cover an estimated 5% of its former swath and glory, barely surviving invasive plant species and the massive on-line reservoir fillings of the Hoover and Glen Canyon Dams. Recommendations include restoring this desert estuary that once claimed nearly 3000 square miles. Good luck to the little Vaquita porpoise, the smallest and most endangered cetacean.
posted by Brian B. on Dec 14, 2008 - 14 comments

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