Welcome to the Colorado River Delta Program blog!

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Welcome to the Colorado River Delta Legacy Program's new blog! We are excited to have another way to connect with you in addition to our Save the Colorado River Delta facebook page and our web page via the Sonoran Institute website.

We will be posting updates from the Delta, stories, photos, calls-to-action, and more right here, so be sure to check in often and leave us any thoughts and comments you want to share. We love hearing from you! 

The Colorado River Delta Legacy Program--and our outreach and campaign arm called Save the Colorado River Delta-- is one of many programs of Tucson, Arizona-based non-profit the Sonoran Institute. The Sonoran Institute's mission is to enable community decisions and public policies that respect the land and people of western North America; hence, that is our mission, too. We are carrying it out in the arid lands of northwest Mexico, where the great Colorado River once--but no longer--reached the sea.  

And now, a brief background on who we are and how we are working to save the Colorado River Delta.


When we first arrived in the Delta fourteen years ago, it would have been hard to imagine Aldo Leopold's historical 1922 canoe trip through the maze of "green lagoons" that once covered the landscape. Since the construction of Hoover dam in the 1930s, and with massive water diversions to municipalities, industry and agriculture ever since, the Delta has withered to barely a trace of its former self. Where once steam ships carted supplies up the river from the Gulf of California, now barren sandbars and mudflats define much of the lower-Delta landscape. In places, the mere silence of a dried up river can leave you parched.

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But glimpses remained of a vibrant Delta. Pockets of accidental wetlands sprung up in wastewater dump sites; a few flood years brought native cottonwoods back to the rivers' shore; hundreds of bird species returned to the Delta as a stopover along the Pacific Flyway; and many local communities continued to work to rebuild the land that is their home.

Since then we have not only witnessed the resilience of this great ecosystem, but actively promoted it through on-the-ground demonstration projects, community outreach, scientific and economic studies, and policy change. Our work runs the gamut from riparian restoration projects and wastewater treatment wetland construction, to fish and vegetation surveys, an Adopt-the-River program, local, state, and international partnerships with governments, tribes, and private organizations, efforts to reconnect the river with the sea, and the acquisition of water for the environment. We approach restoration from many angles to ensure a balanced, sustainable, and comprehensive program which includes all stakeholders: humans, wildlife, and the environment.

Our work helps expand our collective imagination of what is possible in a degraded landscape. At an ever-increasing pace we and our partners are turning a vision for a more vibrant Delta region into a reality. Join us as we help bring the Delta back to life, and become part of this great binational effort.

criver fromgulf-small View of Delta from Gulf of California

pelicans-small Pelicans taking flight over the Cienega de Santa Clara wetlands

volunteers-small Student volunteers help plant thousands of native trees at our riparian restoration demonstration site

sunrisecienega-small Sunrise over the Cienega de Santa Clara