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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…

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.…

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. …

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…

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…

Robert Redford and Will Ferrell “Fight” Over the Colorado River

Stars Robert Redford and Will Ferrell have a bone to pick with each other when it comes to water. Well, not really, but they do make some good points in this funny video calling for restoration of the embattled, and thirsty, Colorado River Basin. The celebrities are working to support Raise the River, a campaign building…

Help Return the Colorado River to the Sea

Imagine if one day you couldn’t get home.  Your journey stopped short of where you were supposed to be. That’s the story of the iconic Colorado River, which sculpted the Grand Canyon and today sustains 30 million people, but now stops flowing 90 miles before reaching the sea, its final destination. With partners, Change the…

In the Yampa River, Extra Flow Makes for Happier Fish

Back in late June 2012, the Yampa River – a beautiful Colorado River tributary that runs through the heart of Steamboat Springs, Colorado – was flowing at 5 percent of normal. Both the native whitefish population and the recreational trout fishery were threatened due to the river’s low levels of oxygen and its warmer temperatures.…

Minnesota Young People “Change the Course” and Save 7 Million Gallons of Water

In the above video, which was just released, Christian McGuigan is seen making a passionate plea to young people to help “change the course” of the Earth’s water crisis. McGuigan helps lead the Change the Course campaign in his role at Participant Media, the company behind such documentaries as An Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc., and Last…

Smarter Irrigation Returns Water to Arizona’s Verde River

What do you get when 21st century “smart” technology hooks up with a 19th century irrigation ditch? The short answer: more water-wise farming and a healthier river. That’s the story of this innovative project on the Verde River in central Arizona, where forward-thinking farmers joined up with the Nature Conservancy and installed a solar-powered “smart”…

Youth Change Ireland’s (Water) Course

The dry Colorado River may be starkly different from the green landscape and rushing rivers of County Mayo in western Ireland, but students in the county have become water ambassadors – teaching themselves, their families, and their community about the importance of water conservation efforts. Water was a hot topic at Ireland’s National Science Week,…

Flooding the Grand Canyon to Restore It

On November 11, officials from the U.S. Department of Interior started a “high-flow experimental release” from Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona. Instead of the dam’s normal flow rate of 5,000 to 8,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) downstream, the dam released about 34,100 cfs for 96 hours. This was the second high release on…

Arizona Irrigators Share Water with Desert River

As drought and high water demands deplete more and more rivers in the western United States, it’s easy to assume a future of dryness is the inescapable fate of once vibrant streams. But in the beautiful valley of the Verde River in central Arizona, farmers, residents, and conservationists are working together to restore flows to…

Life Without Water Is Awkward: New Viral Videos

To drive home the importance of water conservation and protection, the Change the Course team is producing a new series of shorts called “Life Without Water is Awkward: Change the Course.” The first two videos have been released, and are already airing on Pivot TV, a brand new cable television network aimed at galvanizing young…

Change the Course: Hope for “Troubled Waters”

Earlier this year, National Geographic Freshwater Fellow (and Water Currents host and contributor) Sandra Postel gave a talk to a packed auditorium at National Geographic headquarters here in Washington, D.C. In “Troubled Waters,” Postel outlined the challenges we face in an increasingly water-strapped world. But unlike many predictions of gloom and doom of late, Postel…