LB - Coldwell Banker 1019

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : state May 2, 2016


4/25/2014 9:05:00 AM
Officials in Mexico, U.S. collaborate on flood to boost Colorado River's delta
Gates at Morelos Dam in Yuma opened in March to begin sending whatís known as a pulse flow down the Colorado Riverís channel to help restore the delta where the river enters the Gulf of California. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Kirsten Kraklio)
Gates at Morelos Dam in Yuma opened in March to begin sending whatís known as a pulse flow down the Colorado Riverís channel to help restore the delta where the river enters the Gulf of California. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Kirsten Kraklio)
Aaron Marshall, water resources specialist at the Bureau of Reclamationís Yuma office, said the experimental flow down the Colorado Riverís channel in Mexico is intended to mimic spring floods that once benefited the delta. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Kirsten Kraklio)
Aaron Marshall, water resources specialist at the Bureau of Reclamationís Yuma office, said the experimental flow down the Colorado Riverís channel in Mexico is intended to mimic spring floods that once benefited the delta. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Kirsten Kraklio)
More Information
• The experiment is being conducted under an amendment to a 1944 treaty that allows Mexico to store water from its Colorado River allotment in U.S. reservoirs provided that some is used to benefit the environment.

• Mexico began storing some of its allotment in U.S. reservoirs after its water infrastructure was damaged in a 2010 earthquake.

• Over the eight weeks, the pulse flow will release enough water to fill 52,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

BY KIRSTEN KRAKLIO
Cronkite News Service

YUMA - For more than 20 years, water from the Colorado River has stopped at Morelos Dam, which diverted its flow into Mexican canals for agriculture and municipal use. But in March, water began rushing through the gates to help regenerate the river's delta habitats.

The experiment was the result of an agreement that allows Mexico to store water in U.S. reservoirs on the condition that some of its Colorado River allotment - 1.5 million acre feet yearly - be saved and used to stimulate the environment. Making it happen were government officials, scientists and activists on both sides of the border concerned about a once-thriving delta that's been starved of water.

"We have lost almost 90 percent of the wetlands on the Mexican side in the delta," said Francisco Zamora Arroyo, Colorado River Delta Legacy Program director at the Sonoran Institute.

In some areas of the delta, where what remains of the Colorado's flow reaches the Gulf of California, nearly all cottonwood and willow forest has been lost, Arroyo said.

The loss of mature trees not only harms the nearly 400 species of birds in the area but also wildlife across North America.

Karl Flessa, a geoscientist at the University of Arizona, notes that the delta is on what's known as the Pacific Flyway, serving as a critical pit stop for birds migrating as far north as Canada.

"If you're a duck hunter in North Dakota you should care about the Colorado River delta because how good the environment is there determines to some extent how many ducks you're going to be able to hunt in North Dakota," Flessa said.

"When you bring back those trees, you're also going to increase the habitat that's available for birds, the birds that live there all year round as well as all the migratory birds that come through the delta twice a year," he said.

In an attempt to regenerate the trees, a so-called pulse flow- delivering 105,392 acre feet of water over two months - was designed to wet the ground so fallen seeds from cottonwoods and willows can take root. The water initially flowed into the Colorado's channel from Morelos Dam and later through spillways out of canals in Mexico, a process scheduled to continue through May 18.

"It's a pulse flow in the sense that it's a large volume of water in a short period of time that's intended to, in a way, mimic a spring flood that we may have seen in the past," said Aaron Marshall, water resources specialist at the Bureau of Reclamation's Yuma office.

Despite the multi-agency planning that has gone into the experiment, the pulse flow has many uncertainties in terms of the hydrological and biological benefits, Marshall said. The timing of seed release from the cottonwoods and willow trees is critical and has to be calculated when trying to flood the banks.

In addition to the pulse flow, Arroyo said the Sonoran Institute has collected and prepared seeds to boost the chances of success.

"The natural availability of seeds is limited because there are not that many trees, so we collect the seeds from existing trees and then in the areas that got inundated and has the right conditions we will be applying seeds," Arroyo said.

And while determining if this experimental program succeeds will take a number of years, Arroyo said in mid-April that he was already seeing trees begin to germinate.

"They are really small. They are not even half an inch, but you can see even after only four weeks germination of trees," he said.

Flessa, who has studied the delta and the environmental effects of water diversions with his UA students for more than two decades, said the problems in the delta are a matter of overuse rather than undersupply.

"The current state of the delta is a consequence of the fact that the treaty allocations of water between the U.S. and Mexico results in the U.S. retaining approximately 90 percent of the river's flow," Flessa said.

"In both the U.S. and Mexico after we use it for cities and agriculture there's none left for nature," he said.

Although the direct impact of restoration efforts are more obvious south of the border, Doug Hendrix, external coordinator group manager at the Bureau of Reclamation's Yuma office, said it still benefits the U.S.

"A healthy delta area is vital to both countries," he said.

ICT - Lamb Auto 0501 180x150

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Mingus recognized among America's best high schools (3583 views)

•   Cottonwood gets first bee scare of spring season (3108 views)

•   Blaze destroys RV and jeep Sunday; freeway traffic blocked (3009 views)

•   Horrors of human trafficking hit close to home in Verde Valley forum (with video) (2790 views)

•   Mini RV Boondock towns are sprouting up throughout Verde Valley (2583 views)



Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, April 25, 2014
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Nothin like an old fashioned Water War by gimmity.



Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Father Son Look a Like Contest
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast





Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Home Furnishings Direct 0329 70th Anniversary

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, verdenews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved