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Landscapes Transform With the Arrival of the Colorado River

It’s a rare event to see a river literally form before your eyes. But each day that we ventured out to find the leading edge of the Colorado River as it advanced through its delta during this historic “pulse flow,” we were treated to exactly that phenomenon: a dry, sandy channel that hasn’t seen water…

Update From Colorado River Delta: A Community Gets its River Back

For more than two weeks, the Colorado River has been flowing in its delta, through more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) of recently bone-dry river channel choked with desert scrub.  The flow is all too brief, lasting only eight weeks in all.  The United States and Mexico are demonstrating how a “pulse flow” of water…

San Joaquin River Named #1 Most Endangered River in the U.S.

American Rivers today released its annual report of America’s Most Endangered Rivers, with California’s San Joaquin River at the top of the list.  Outdated water management, compounded by the current drought, have put the San Joaquin River at a critical crossroads. It is hard to overstate the importance of the San Joaquin River and its…

Partnership Protects America’s Largest Native Trout in Dry Nevada

By John Zablocki and Zeb Hogan Few places in the world keep their secrets as well as Northern Nevada.  Ask anyone driving across the northern half of the state along U.S. Highway 50 (widely referred to as the “Loneliest Road in America”) what they saw, and the most common reply will be “a whole-lot-of-nothin’.”  From…

Monitoring the Pulse of the Colorado River

Now in its 14th day, the historic pulse flow coursing through the Colorado River Delta toward the sea is under the careful watch of dozens of scientists who fan out across the landscape to measure and track its vital signs – from flow rates and salinity levels to seed dispersal by native cottonwoods and willows.…

Building a Resilient Water Portfolio

By Robert B. Sowby People often ask me, “So what’s the answer to the world’s water problems?” and expect an easy, digestible response. But there is no silver bullet. While most water plans have a dominant component, dependence on a single strategy is risky. Climate change, population growth, and other 21st-century challenges can adversely impact…

Will the Colorado River Delta Pulse Flow Make it to the Sea?

One of the big unknowns of the pulse flow of water currently working its way down the channel of the Colorado River in its delta is whether that water will reach the sea.  The mouth of the Colorado River drained historically into the Upper Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), a unique body of water…

Chasing the Historic “Pulse Flow” Through the Colorado River Delta

For one week now, the Colorado River has been flowing into its delta.  It’s the first ever deliberate release of water here to benefit the environment. That the river is flowing again in its delta is somewhat astounding, all the more remarkable because it’s happening as the result of cooperation between the United States and…

“DamNation” Film Wins Enviro Prize and Shines Light on Dam Removal

“Dams represented a pivotal part of U.S. development, but like many things we took it too far,” Ben Knight says in the new documentary film DamNation. Knight narrated, edited, and co-directed the film, which takes a provocative look at the recent movement to remove old and outdated dams, to restore natural river systems. Produced by…

Defending Madagascar’s Frogs From Invading Fungus

By Jonathan Kolby It all started as an idea one afternoon seven years ago.  Having recently learned about the devastating amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd) that was spreading globally and causing irreparable damage to the world’s amphibian biodiversity, I felt there must be something more I could personally do to help save the…

A Colorado Delta Community Reconnects with its River

On Tuesday afternoon, March 25, 2014, word got out that the river was coming. Kids, parents, dogs and teenagers began gathering at the bridge in San Luis Rio Colorado, a border town of about 160,000 people. Young people had never seen the river that gives this town its name flow beneath the bridge. They waited. …

To Understand Water, Learn the Math

 OK, I’ll admit to being a bit of a geek when it comes to water numbers. I never got all that excited about algebra in school, and college calculus was a real struggle.  But water numbers fascinate me.  If you’ve read any of my earlier blogs it will be apparent that this fascination borders on…

Witnesses to History at Morelos Dam on the Colorado River

A dozen dignitaries faced a crowd of more than two hundred gathered yesterday at Morelos Dam in the Mexican city of Los Algodones, Baja California, to proclaim the release of a “pulse flow” of Colorado River water to its dry delta a momentous occasion for both the river and binational relations. (See “Historic Pulse Flow…

Water Flows Into Colorado River Delta in Historic First

Sunday March 23, 2014, at a little after 8 am, the gates at Morelos Dam on the Mexico-Arizona border were opened for the first time in history for the purpose of allowing the Colorado River to flow downstream into its delta to water the plants and animals that live there.  A crowd of more than…

This World Water Day, Something Big to Celebrate

On Monday, March 24, I leave on a trip to witness an event I never thought I’d see:  the Colorado River flowing through its delta toward the sea. Except in years of unusually high precipitation in its watershed, the Colorado hasn’t coursed through its delta for most of the last half century. Its entire flow…