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Hello Friends of the Colorado River!
Water is flowing in the Colorado River Delta! It’s good and real and alive! Last week, I had the great pleasure of witnessing the return of the Colorado River to its Delta in Mexico. I greatly appreciated the work of all of the groups who provided support, including Lighthawk and the Sonoran Institute. My visit included an afternoon “Chasing Water” — following the pulse flow through the sand in the ancient riverbed — as well as a flight over the Delta, and a tour of the Laguna Grande restoration site.
It was almost a surreal experience walking along beside the river as it inched its way downstream in the sand. What struck me most was how cool the water was — although it was 90 degrees outside and the sand was baked by the sun to well over 100 degrees, the water was cool as it surrounded my toes, ankles, and knees as it rose higher and higher. I had left Denver International Airport the day before and saw the huge frozen snowpack along the Continental Divide — the river retained some of that cool temperature down through its 1,400-mile journey. Lots and lots of photos and news stories are posted on Save The Colorado’s facebook page here. One of my favorite photos was shot by Pete McBride who, along with friends, was the first in history to Stand Up Paddleboard the pulse flow as it moved downstream.
As of this writing today, the river is still slowly moving downstream toward the sea. Scientists in the Delta are now very busy analyzing the impact of the flow on the Delta ecosystem. This initial flow of water, called the “pulse,” is meant to stimulate the ecosystem and begin the long process of restoring health to the dried-up river and surrounding habitat. After the pulse ends in late May, which was an effort funded by the bi-national agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, a new effort to fund and create a “base flow” will move forward. This effort needs to raise money to buy the water and “Raise The River” and is being led by Robert Redford and his Redford Center in collaboration with several environmental groups. You can learn more about Raise The River by visiting its website here.
What else is new? We offer a huge THANK YOU to Kim Jordan and her team at New Belgium Brewing (makers of Fat Tire Beer) for taking a stand in support of the Clean Water Act. The Obama Administration is working to update the rules for how water is protected in the U.S., and the Environmental Protection Agency has created draft rules that are now out for public review. New Belgium Brewing and the American Sustainable Business Council (representing 200,000 businesses in the U.S.) created the print advertisement below in support of Obama’s strong stance to protect clean water in the U.S. Clean water is good for business, good for the environment, and good for beer!
Finally, we offer a big THANK YOU to our new friends and fans in Los Angeles! Our petition to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is almost at 5,000 signatures. The extreme drought in California continues as snowpack is at a mere
30% of average in California’s mountains. We continue to fight for smarter policies to protect rivers and meet water supply needs, including a much stronger focus on water conservation throughout the Colorado River basin. The City of Los Angeles has a big opportunity to change their policies to focus more on conservation and water recycling. This drought is a big wake-up call as well as an opportunity to chart a more resilient path forward. If you haven’t yet signed the petition, please click through here to sign up.
Thank you for your support and stay tuned for more updates!
Gary Wockner, Coordinator, Save The Colorado River Campaign