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Fish Face Extinction Due To “Historic Agreement On The Colorado River”?

Dec. 18, 2017

Fish Face Extinction Due To “Historic Agreement On The Colorado River”?

In the past few months, the United States and Mexico touted their “historic agreement on the Colorado River” whereby both countries agreed to continue completely draining and destroying the Colorado River for another nine years. The agreement, known as “Minute 323”, sends 99.7% of the Colorado River’s water to farms and cities in both countries, while conservation groups negotiated to send the remaining miniscule 0.3% farther down the Delta area to be diverted out to construct four thousand acres wetlands along the former Colorado River corridor.

What no one wants to talk about is that Minute 323 does not intend to send one drop of water to the Sea of Cortez, and that lack of freshwater to the Sea is leading to the extinction of fish and other creatures in the former estuary. Last week, UCLA published research titled, “Colorado River delta fish risk extinction through interbreeding due to lack of freshwater“, and a UCLA press released summarized the research:

“Hybridization creates a real risk of extinction, as the very identity of the fish may be eliminated,” said Jacobs, one of the paper’s authors and a member of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “In this case, the hybrids are all in the delta silverside range, so the interbreeding may be in the process of eliminating delta species whose habitat has dramatically changed. And other groups of fishes and crabs appear to have evolved as ecological species restricted to the Colorado Delta these also appear to be at risk.”

Minute 323 was covered widely in the media and touted as a “historic agreement” by some pundits, but it does very little to restore the Delta wetlands and does nothing to restore the flow of freshwater to the sea. The Colorado River Delta used to have 2 million acres of wetlands as well as 5 trillion gallons of freshwater flowing into the Sea of Cortez every year.



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