Restoring a ‘Pulse’ to the Colorado River Delta

ENVIRONMENT

Last month, a “pulse flow” of water surged into the final stretch of the Colorado River. Officials and scientists hope the water will help restore a landscape that has long been arid but that once supported a rich diversity of life. (National Geographic News)

Use our resources to learn more about conservation in the Colorado delta.

Discussion Ideas

  • The “pulse flow” of water to the Colorado River delta required an enormous amount of political negotiation. The Nat Geo News article calls the agreement, Minute 319, a “binational treaty.” What does that mean?
    • Binational simply means it involves two nations. The nations that negotiated Minute 319 were Mexico and the United States.

 

  • Both the United States and Mexico had to negotiate with stakeholders in their own countries—states, industries, and individuals. What U.S. states are stakeholders in the flow of the Colorado River? What Mexican states? Take a look at our MapMaker Interactive and trace the flow of the Colorado for some help. What interests or industries are stakeholders in the Colorado River? How are individual people stakeholders? Read our “real-world geography” profile of Osvel Hinojosa Huerta, a Nat Geo Emerging Explorer instrumental in the “pulse flow” project, for some help.
    • U.S. states that rely on the Colorado directly are Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California.
    • Mexican states that benefit from the Colorado are Baja California and Sonora.
    • Industries that rely on the Colorado include agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, and businesses such as the towering casinos of Las Vegas.
    • Individuals rely on the Colorado for drinking, hygiene, and sports and recreational activities such as swimming.

 

To put the "pulse flow" in context, here's a great look at the lower course of the Colorado River. The largest inland body of water (the Salton Sea), to the left in this remarkable image, is not associated with the Colorado. Other lakes are created by dams along the river, as a trickle reaches its delta wetlands, visible at the very bottom. Image by Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

To put the “pulse flow” in context, here’s a great look at the lower course of the Colorado River. The largest inland body of water (the Salton Sea), to the left in this remarkable image, is not associated with the Colorado. Other lakes are created by dams along the river, as a trickle reaches its delta wetlands, visible at the very bottom.
Image by Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

Finally, Change the Course! Help restore water to the Colorado River Basin by joining this project of National Geographic and partners. Sign up online or text “River” to 77177.

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