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What happens when you “Just Add Water” to the Colorado River Delta?
To this rich, lush, biologically diverse “River of Grass” just 100 yards away in the Cienega de Santa Clara in the southeast corner of the Delta (“cienega” means marsh or wetland in spanish):
In mid-October, Save the Colorado campaign coordinator Gary Wockner had the extraordinary opportunity to visit the Colorado River Delta area south of Mexicali, Mexico with one of our grantees, the Sonoran Institute, to see their great work to restore this degraded ecosystem.
We visited the Moreles Dam just south of the U.S./Mexico border, which is where the Colorado River stops and is drained bone dry, its water diverted away for nearby towns and farms. Though the diversion provides water for some people, it completely destroys the Colorado River and the culture of the former people who depended on it. Below is a photo of Cocopah tribal elder Colin Soto standing on top of the Moreles Dam with the dry Colorado River in the background. Colin is a part of the coalition effort to bring water back to the River and the Delta.
The Sonoran Institute is working hard in the Delta with a partner Mexican organization, Pro Natura, to bring water back to the Delta and to restore wetlands and riparian wildlife corridors for the benefit of the environment, the people, and a growing eco-tourism economy. Below is a photo of our tour group discussing wetlands restoration near the Mexicali wastewater treatment facility.
We also visited a tree-planting restoration site that will soon help connect a growing assembly of wildlife corridors up and down the Delta. Below, we heard a presentation about the riparian corridor initiative’s work to take advantage of scientifically mapped groundwater levels which will help make sure that restoration efforts are successful as water is slowly returned to the Delta.
The Colorado River Delta is one of the most degraded ecosystems in North America. Two million acres of wetlands have been drained dry; only 80,000 acres currently remain. But the Sonoran Institute, Pro Natura, and other partner organizations have big plans to bring water, wildlife, and a healthier economy back to the Delta. Check out these two videos of the Cienega de Santa Clara. There is hope when there is passion and work — Save the Colorado is helping these groups to “Just Add Water” to the Colorado River Delta.
Stay tuned for more information about how we can all work together to save the Colorado River Delta!