2014 Annual Report


25 Years Strong, Shaping Our West

For over 25 years, Sonoran Institute has been a pioneer in efforts to unite and celebrate the best of Western culture, history, nature and urban spaces by making connections, seeking practical solutions and promoting long-term sustainability. View and download our 2014 Annual Report to see all that we've done up through 2014 and what we plan on doing as we move forward.

2040 Vision

  Stategic Framework Cover

Strategic Framework

For the last 25 years, we have been successfully helping people in the West build the communities they want to live in while preserving the West that brought them here. Discover our vision for our next 25 years. 

Our Letter to You

Read our 2040 Vision 

Home Where We Work Mexico - Colorado River Delta Delta Pulse Flow - In the News

Dramatic photographs capture the mighty Colorado River kissing the sea for the first time in 50-years off the coast of Mexico after dams were intentionally unleashed

(September 10, 2014) - For the first time in half a century the Colorado River kissed the Sea of Cortez in Mexico this May, providing photographer Pete McBridge a glimpse into the past of an American continent untouched by man's meddling.

The river, which flows high up in the Rocky Mountains of the United States, winds its way 1,400 miles south. Over the past hundred or so years its journey has been dammed and changed more than a dozen times to feed and irrigate cities across the West.  Read the DAILY MAIL article.


A River Running

(September 4, 2014) - Pulse flow feeds more then dry Colorado River Delta.

If Boulder Creek dried up, and the bridge on Broadway spanned nothing but an empty stretch of sand, and it stayed that way for decades, eventually people would forget what it had meant to see a stream running there. To have place to put feet in the water, a green bank on which to sit, a surge to seed the cottonwoods and willows downstream, an exhale from the mountains when the snow unpacks itself into melt water each spring.  Read the BOULDER WEEKLY article.


Channeling the Colorado River Delta back from the Dead

(August 15, 2014) - As a matter of geographic trivia, did you ever wonder where the Colorado River drains into the ocean? That's actually kind of a trick question: it doesn't.

Like too many of the world's great rivers today -- the Ganges, the Yellow, the Nile, for other distressing examples -- the Colorado River never makes it to the ocean in any recognizable form. In fact, it's rarely been closer than a hundred miles to its natural drainage point, into the Gulf of California, its remnants diverted by the Morelos Dam.  Read the HUFFINGTON POST article.


Robert Redford celebrates water flowing in the Colorado River Delta

(July 25, 2014) - Spend a few minutes with Robert Redford as he narrates a new video from Raise the River documenting the historic 2014 pulse flow release of water into the Colorado River Delta, where the river had been largely absent for the past 50 years.  The river flowed, birds sang, and people came to celebrate the return of the river.  In the wake of the pulse flow, nature returns!  Read the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


Well, I'll Be Un-Dammed: Colorado River (Briefly) Reached the Sea

(July 12, 2014) - For a few weeks this spring, the Colorado River flowed all the way to the sea for the first time in a half a century. And during that window of opportunity, writer Rowan Jacobsen took the paddleboarding trip of a lifetime.  Read the NPR article.


A Rare Journey Down the Colorado River Ends at the Ocean

(July 1, 2014) - Photographer and videographer Pete McBride took a rare journey down the ColoradoRiver this spring. For the first time in decades, water from the river reached the Sea of Cortez. So, McBride and a few friends decided to embark via paddleboards and a canoe to see how the river was faring, departing from Morelos Dam in Arizona, at the U.S.-Mexico border.  Read the COLORADO PUBLIC RADIO article.


With Help from a Flood, Scientists and Activists Nurse a bit of the Colorado River Delta Back to Life

(June 23, 2014) - About 150 miles east of San Diego, Morelos Dam stops the Colorado River in its tracks right at the US-Mexico border. Here, the last stretch of the once-mighty river is diverted from its natural path into an irrigation canal, bound for Mexican farms.  Read the PUBLIC RADIO INTERNATIONAL article.


Water War Bubbling up Between California and Arizona

(June 20, 2014) - Once upon a time, California and Arizona went to war over water.

The year was 1934, and Arizona was convinced that the construction of Parker Dam on the lower Colorado River was merely a plot to enable California to steal its water rights. Its governor, Benjamin Moeur, dispatched a squad of National Guardsmen up the river to secure the eastern bank from the decks of the ferryboat Julia B. — derisively dubbed "Arizona's navy" by a Times war correspondent assigned to cover the skirmish. After the federal government imposed a truce, the guardsmen returned home as "conquering heroes." Read the LOS ANGELES TIMES article.


Colorado River Researchers find signs of Ancient, Devasting Floods

(June 19, 2014) - Scientists say it would have been a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions. If the Glen Canyon Dam had failed, it would have changed the lives of millions of people and reshaped the history of the American West.  Read the LOS ANGELES TIMES article.


The Day We Set the Colorado River Free

(June 16, 2014) - Friday, March 28, 2014, I did something that has been impossible for most of the past 50 years and, by the time you read this, will be again. As photographer Pete McBride snapped photos of me, and two French documentary filmmakers shot footage of him, and an unidentified blue helicopter circled above, I pumped up an inflatable NRS paddleboard, dropped it onto the Colorado River below Morelos Dam, on the Mexico-Arizona border, flopped onto the board, and glided over the cool waters.  Read the OUTSIDE MAGAZINE article.


Vanishing Water

(June 15, 2014) - The biggest reservoir in the United States is dropping 1 foot each week. Lake Mead's rapidly sinking water level is set to reach an all-time low in July, driven down by a 14-year drought that scientists say is one of the most severe to hit the Colorado River in more than 1,200 years.  Read the DESERT SUN article.


Colorado River Delta Begins To Come Back From The Dead


A Historic Course Change on the Colorado River

(May 29, 2014) - When it comes to water, there is rarely consensus among agencies, municipalities and environmentalists. Agreement among multiple states and nations? That’s just not something that happens. Until it does.

Today, there is water flowing in the Colorado River Delta — where water has not flowed regularly for half a century — all because water managers, conservation organizations and policymakers in both the United States and Mexico were able to find common ground. When this common ground is intersected by an international border, you know you’ve surmounted an obstacle previously considered insurmountable.  Read the LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL article.


Colorado River Water Finally Arrives at Gulf of California

(May 27, 2014) - The Colorado River's healing power was already apparent by the time the water finally reached the sea for the first time since 1998.

An experimental "pulse flow" of water released from a diversion dam at the U.S.-Mexican border took more than seven weeks to rush, meander and finally trickle to the Gulf of California.  Read the AZ CENTRAL article.


How the Colorado River Finally Reached the Sea Again

(May 20, 2014) - This week, for the first time in decades, the Colorado River flowed to its natural end in the Gulf of California. But it was the opposite of a natural event. The artificially engineered "pulse flow" that pushed the waters all the way to the Gulf required an unprecedented collaboration between the U.S. and Mexico, wading into a complex body of laws around a basic question: to whom does a river belong?  Read the GIZMODO article.


A Sacred Reunion: The Colorado River Returns to the Sea

(May 19, 2014) - After coursing through its delta for nearly eight weeks, the fresh waters of the Colorado River have touched the high tides of the salty sea.

It is the first time in sixteen years that the Colorado River, which flows 1,450 miles (2,334 kilometers) from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado  to the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) in northwestern Mexico, will have reached its final, natural destination.  Read the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


Bringing the Colorado River Delta Back to Life

(May 19, 2014) - The Colorado River delta was once a fertile wetland of green lagoons and winding river channels. The fresh waters of the Colorado mingled there, at the southern end of the delta in Mexico’s Baja California state, with the salty waters of the Sea of Cortez.

Today, 90 percent of those waters are diverted along the river’s path through the Southwest to provide drinking water to 35 million people and irrigate crops in Arizona and the six other states along the basin.  Read the ARIZONA PUBLIC MEDIA article.


Photo Shows Reunion of Colorado River, Gulf of California in Mexico

(May 16, 2014) - A photo taken Thursday shows the Colorado River meeting tidal waters from the Gulf of California for the first time in about 20 years.

The river stopped regularly flowing to the sea in the 1960s as dams were built and water was diverted for cities and farms upstream in the United States and Mexico.  Read the LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURANL article.


A River Reunited: The Colorado River Reaches the Sea

(May 15, 2014) - This week, the Colorado River will be reunited with the sea – a destination it hasn’t seen in many years – thanks to the “pulse flow.” Scientists monitoring the flow expect the two waters to meet sometime today, during high tide, but it’s actually possible that the river reached the sea last week, as we learned from a handful of adventurers who rode their stand-up paddle boards to the tidal interface.  Read the ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND article.


Reunited: Colorado River, Sea expected to meet Thursday

(May 14, 2014) - For the first time in 16 years, the Colorado River will flow all the way to the Gulf of California -- thanks to a temporary release of water in March designed to mimic the river’s natural spring flood phase.

Scientists monitoring the flow expect the two waters to meet during high tide on Thursday. It will be the first time water from the Colorado River has completed its journey to the Upper Gulf of California since 1998.  Read the YUMA SUN article.


The Colorado River Flows to the Sea

(May 14, 2014) - This week, the Colorado River will be reunited with the sea – a destination it hasn’t seen in many years – thanks to the “pulse flow.” Scientists monitoring the flow expect the two waters to meet sometime tomorrow, during high tide, but it’s actually possible that the river reached the sea last week, as we learned from a handful of adventurers who rode their stand-up paddle boards to the tidal interface.  Read the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


Pulse Flow on Colorado River Delta in Final Days

(May 13, 2014) - The first stage of a pilot project to bring life back to the Colorado River delta will come to a close this weekend.

For the past two months, the pulse flow has been flooding parts of the delta in Mexico’s Baja California state  Read the ARIZONA PUBLIC MEDIA article.


Colorado Delta Pulse Flow should Connect with the Sea by Thursday, Feds Say

(Mary 13, 2014) - For the first time in many years, the Colorado River is apparently about to reach the sea.

Based on aerial photos taken of the Colorado River Delta, the world-renowned delta pulse flow that started nearly two months ago is likely to connect with the Gulf of California on Thursday, a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation official said this morning.  Read the ARIZONA DAILY STAR article.


Kayaker able to Navigate Part of Rejuvinated Colorado River Delta

(May 3, 2014) - Nearly 30 years ago, Steve Nelson started kayaking the Colorado River Delta in search of adventure and a journey through history. He ended up falling in love with the place.  Read the ARIZONA DAILY STAR article.


Restoring a 'Pulse' to the Colorado River Delta

(April 28, 2014) - 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.  Read the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EDUCATION BLOG post here.


The Latest: Colorado River Delta Update

(April 28, 2014) - Over the last 50 years, the Colorado River has rarely reached its mouth in the Sea of Cortez. The giant dams on its main stem and the water demands of some 35 million people have largely dried out its vast delta, which once sustained cottonwood and willow forests and armies of fish and birds. But in November 2012, the U.S and Mexico signed Minute 319, a complex water-sharing agreement that includes an experimental flood to help jumpstart the Delta's ecosystem, to be followed by smaller releases of water to sustain new growth.  Read the HIGH COUNTRY NEWS article.


U.S., Mexico Collaborate on Flood to Boost Colorado River Delta

(April 24, 2014) - 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.  Read the TUCSON SENTINEL article.


Nature Responds to Colorado River Delta's Pulse Flow

(April 21, 2014) - The Colorado River has been flowing in its delta for more than three weeks,thanks to a cooperative effort by the United States and Mexico to deliver a “pulse flow” of water.  Read the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


Landscapes Transform With the Arrival of the Colorado River

(April 15, 2014) - 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 in 16 years suddenly became a rivulet, then a stream, then a glorious flowing river.  Read the full NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


Colorado River Basin in 'a Serious Situation'

(April 15, 2014) - KINGMAN - Drought, anticipated population increases and a growing imbalance between water supply and demand have placed Mohave County's water supply among the most endangered river basins in the country.

The Colorado River basin ranked most-endangered river in the country last year by American Rivers, a conservation organization.  Read the full DAILY MINER article.


Four Lessons for Water-stressed Regions, from the Colorado River

(April 10, 2014) - I have just returned from a firsthand, and uplifting, look at the pulse flow now pushing its way through the Colorado River Delta. My boots are barely dry from standing at the leading edge.

For the past 50 years, dams and diversions have prevented the mighty Colorado from reaching its natural destination – the Gulf of California. Without a doubt, the diversions of water have helped improve the quality of life for many people. But they’ve also created hardship for communities that once thrived along the 100 miles of riverbank from Yuma, Ariz., to the sea. The impact on migrating song birds, fish populations and the wooded riverbanks has been profound.  Read the full ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND article.


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

(April 9, 2014) - 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 can bring environmental benefits to this long-parched reach of the river.  The last 100 miles (160 kilometers) of the Colorado are a critical link in the Pacific Flyway, and new habitat can help the hundreds of species of birds that depend on it.  Read the full NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


Water Flows to Colorado River 

(April 8, 2014) - Fresh infusions of water reached a key Colorado River restoration site in Baja California this week as part of a bi-national effort aimed at reviving the river’s few remaining natural areas in Mexico.

The 750-acre site is part of a riparian area in the Colorado River Delta known as Laguna Grande that has been the subject of restoration efforts since 2008. The arrival of the flows come two weeks after the launching of a “pulse flow” at the U.S.-Mexico border that aims to simulate flood conditions and allow seeds to germinate.  Read the full U-T SAN DIEGO article.


Bringing the Colorado River Back to Long-Dry Parts of Mexico

(April 8, 2014) - For the first time in almost 20 years, the Colorado River is flowing into northern Mexico through a dam that usually stops it. It’s called a pulse flow — a temporary release of water.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Stina Sieg of KJZZ traveled to see the effect it’s having on Mexico’s long-barren delta.  Read the full WBUR article.


Colorado River Progress Flows from Cooperative Spirit

(April 7, 2014) - The Colorado River is an extraordinary river whose currents flow not just in one direction, but in many directions across landscapes and borders, meeting many needs and demands.

Last month, the Colorado River began to flow once again toward the Gulf of California as part of an unprecedented agreement to improve the riparian environment of the river and the Colorado River Delta. But even more important than the riparian-area restoration and scientific studies that will result from this effort is that the action is part of a new and historic agreement between Mexico and the United States. This partnership — crafted under a 1944 treaty — demonstrates what can be achieved when neighbors work together.  Read the full AZ CENTRAL article.


O.A.R.S. Guides Lead Historic Rafting Descent on the Colorado River "Pulse Flow"

(April 7th, 2014) - ANGELS CAMP, CA - A binational group of conservationists from the United States and Mexico, along with several O.A.R.S. river guides, joined together last week for a historic 22-mile rafting trip on the newly revived Colorado River at the U.S.-Mexico border.This “first descent” of sorts (by oar raft) was made possible by the recent Colorado River “pulse flow” experiment which has allowed approximately 100,000-acre-feet of water (less than 1 percent of the annual flow of the Colorado River) to flow south toward the Sea of Cortez for one of the first times in nearly 50 years.

The effort to reconnect the river to the sea, an effort led by a coalition of environmental groups collectively known as Raise the River and made possible by the historic Minute 319 agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, was to recreate a mini spring flood in the river and delta region and restore the degraded and endangered Colorado River delta in Mexico. The "pulse" began on Sunday, March 23, 2014 when the gates of the Morelos Dam on the U.S.-Mexico border were lifted, allowing water that had typically been redirected for upstream water needs to once again flow into the final stretch of the Colorado River.  Read the full PINE TREE article.


Which Controversial Family Foundation is Spending a Fortune to Protect the Colorado River?

(April 7th, 2014) - Since around 2005, the Walton Family Foundation has been pouring funds into environmental issues, with one of its main interests being the Colorado River. As part of the foundation’s freshwater conservation initiative, the funder gave $16.6 million to the cause just last year. Here's where it went.

The Walton name doesn’t always inspire feelings of warmth among environmentalists, but for good or ill, the foundation of the world’s wealthiest family has come to have a tremendous influence on conservation, especially water issues. Within its freshwater initiative—one of two environmental subprograms along with marine conservation—Walton has made restoration of the Colorado River one of its top priorities. About 18 percent of the massive funder’s $91 million in environmental funding last year went to the Colorado River and its delta.  Read the full INSIDE PHILANTHROPY article.


Monitoring the Pulse of the Colorado River

(April 5th, 2014) - 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.

The goal is to learn as much as possible from this unique experiment in large-scale ecosystem restoration so that future pulse flows – designed to mimic the spring flood that naturally occurred before large dams and diversions were built – will deliver as many benefits to river health, habitat creation and local communities as possible.  Read the full NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


Bringing Water Back to the River

(April 4th, 2014) - The Colorado River was once mighty enough to carve the Grand Canyon, but now human use drains it to a trickle that never reaches the sea. National Geographic Emerging Explorer Osvel Hinojosa Huerta is leading efforts to change that.  View the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC video.


Waters Will Flood Part of Colorado River, For Just a Few Weeks
(April 4, 2014) - Millions of gallons of water used to flow every day from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. Now, the Colorado River ends at Morelos Dam on the U.S.-Mexico border. Below it, one of North America's largest wetlands is dry.

Karl Flessa, a geoscientist at the University of Arizona, began researching the damage two decades ago. Then he started asking how much water it would take to bring back some of the habitats.  Read the full NPR article.


An Emotional Journey: Residents See Colorado River for First Time

(April 4th, 2014) - I saw the Colorado River for the very first time this week. So did this boy, who grew up in San Luis Rio Colorado – a city named after the river – but he has only ever known hot, dry sand to be where today there is cool, clear water.

I could imagine his moment of discovery. All of a sudden, there is a river to splash and play in where there was none before. He might be thinking why, from where, how come?  Read the full ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND article.


Pulse Flow Benefits Area Wetlands

(April 3rd, 2014) - Mexico’s Colorado River delta isn’t the only wildlife habitat that is benefiting from a temporary increased flow of water down the Colorado River to replicate spring flooding along the river’s riparian area.

The cottonwoods and willows and other native vegetation planted in the East Wetlands also are getting a good soaking.  Read the full YUMA SUN article.


Colorado River - Explaining the Pulse Flow

(April 3rd, 2014) - The work of Nature Conservancy scientist Eloise Kendy is going to be part of an historic event that will grab the world’s attention. She’s a hydrologist and member of the team that designed the Delta pulse flow—a water release—a key element of the Colorado River bi-national agreement to restore the Delta region. This 100-mile stretch of the river has rarely flowed to the Gulf of California since 1960. The binational agreement, signed by the US and Mexico, also defines how the two countries will share and store water in times of surplus and shortages. 

When she’s not working on this pilot project or developing freshwater solutions, Eloise enjoys hiking, mountain biking and whitewater rafting in her home state of Montana. 

Nature.org sat down with Eloise to learn more about her experience.  Read the full NATURE CONSERVANCY article.


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

(April 3rd, 2014) - 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 that Jacques Cousteau called “the world’s aquarium.”  But with dams and diversions of Colorado River water serving a population of more than 35 million in the United States and Mexico, the Colorado River hasn’t reached its destination regularly since before 1960.  Read the full NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.

Dispatch from Mexico: A Historic Pulse of Water to Restore the Delta
(April 2nd, 2014) - Just south of the Mexican border town of Los Algodones, last Thursday dawned with a whipping breeze. Maintenance workers hustled to sweep, shovel dust and repaint the yellow speed bumps in the road alongside Mexico’s main Colorado River dam, named for the patriot José María Morelos, who was executed by Spain in 1815 for his role in the Mexican War of Independence.  Read the full HIGH COUNTRY NEWS article.

UA Scientists to Help Flood Colorado River Delta

(April 2nd, 2014) - UA scientists have joined forces with a binational team to help rejuvenate the Colorado River delta through an engineered flood.

A pulse of water was released down the Colorado River to flood water into the delta. The delta is an area which has become completely dry, as shrubs have replaced water. The delta only receives water in years when floods are unusually large.  Read the full DAILY WILDCAT article.


Minute 319 Pulse Flow: U.S./Mexico Water Relations

For the first time in almost 20 years, the Colorado River is flowing into northern Mexico – and through a dam that usually stops it.  It’s part of an agreement between the Mexican and US governments, as well as non-profits in both countries.  It’s called a pulse flow – meaning a temporary release of water. Read the full KAWC article.


Chasing the Historic "Pulse Flow" Through the Colorado River Delta

(April 1st, 2014) - 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 Mexico under a new collaborative agreement on river and water management.  Read the full NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


Pulse Flow Already Bringing New Life to Colorado River Delta

(April 1st, 2014) - Osvel Hinojosa-Huerta was all smiles Thursday as he stood on the spillway of Morelos Dam south of the international border and watched the Colorado River flowing in what had been a dry riverbed only a few days ago.

But then, it was a momentous occasion for Hinojosa, director of the Water and Wetlands Program for Pronatura Norooeste, Mexico’s oldest and largest conservation organization. Hinojosa, who obtained a doctorate degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Arizona, has worked in research and conservation projects in northwestern Mexico since 1997. In recent years he has been a key partner in bi-national efforts to restore the Colorado River delta as a wetland habitat for birds and other wildlife.  Read the full YUMA SUN article.


An Unusual Sight: Water Flows in Mexico's Colorado River

(April 1st, 2014) - The Mexicans living along the dry bed of the Colorado River near its delta on the Sea of Cortez are seeing something unusual: agua.

A release of water from a dam at the US-Mexico border means that water is flowing again toward the parched delta of the shared river on Mexico's Sea of Cortez, and it is bringing joy. Water hasn't reached the delta in many years.  Read the full CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR article.


US - Mexico Partnership Brings Water to Dry Colorado River Delta

(March 31st, 2014) - It was a sunny day at Mexico’s Morelos Dam, just west of Yuma. It was also a momentous day. Like always, the Colorado River was being diverted, rushing into canals and toward thirsty crops and cities. But some of that water was quietly continuing through the dam and into a usually barren stretch of riverbed that meanders some 70 miles to the ocean. It was the height of the first-ever pulse flow, a temporary release of water meant to rehabilitate the Colorado’s long-barren delta.  Read the full KJZZ article.


A Pulse of Life Flows Through the Colorado River Delta

(March 31st, 2014) - Last Thursday, policymakers, water agencies and conservation organizations from the United States and Mexico gathered at the Morelos Dam, which straddles the U.S.–Mexico border, to witness the Colorado River “pulse flow,” and to celebrate the culmination of years of negotiations to restore the Colorado River Delta.  Read the full GRIFFIN SCHEIN article.


Now Mostly Barren, Colorado River Once Teemed with Life

(March 31st, 2014) - ALONG THE RIO COLORADO, Baja California — When high levels of water gushed down the Colorado River last week for the first time in more than a decade, it was a cause for celebration.

But amid the revelry, 83-year-old Saul Diaz couldn’t help but remember how it used to be in the 1950s, when he’d spot beavers on the river. He thought about the time he watched a piece of heavy construction equipment fall into the river — and never reappear.  Read the full ARIZONA DAILY STAR article.


Historic Water Release Brings Surge of Joy to Colorado River Delta

(March 30th, 2014) - ALONG THE RIO COLORADO — They came to see the river return, a half-century after U.S. dams kept it from flowing into Mexico.

Forty-seven-year-old Carlos Bazua drove 30 miles from his home in Mexicali, Baja California.

“Since I was a kid, my father told me that long ago there was water, but I do not remember that,” he said.  Read the full ARIZONA DAILY STAR article.


Kelly Slater and Will Ferrell want to Move the Ocean

(March 28th, 2014) - What do Kelly Slater and William Ferrell have in common? They're trying to move the ocean to the wet part of the Colorado River Delta.

The problem is that Robert Redford, the Hollywood actor, believes there's an alternative way of raising small amounts of water in the Delta, in order to restore 2,300 acres of forest and marsh along a 70-mile stretch of river.

Redford's goal is to generate rural economic activities and job opportunities for local people, including river restoration, tourism, recreational hunting, and sport and commercial fisheries.  Read the full SURFER TODAY article.


A Colorado Delta Community Reconnects with it's River

(March 28, 2014) - 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.  Read the full NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


Witnesses to History at Morelos Dam on the Colorado River

(March 28, 2014) - 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.  Read the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC full article.


Four Women Joyride the Flood that will revive the Colorado River Delta

(March 28. 2014) - It was sometime after the river outfitter’s shuttle van had passed through the latticework of gates and fences that guards the steep, hairpinned road to the boat-launch at the base of the Hoover Dam, and possibly right before we realized that we had left our two-burner stove back in Alison’s truck, in the parking lot of a casino hotel towering beigely over an otherwise nearly buildingless swath of desert around Lake Mead.  Read the full HIGH COUNTRY NEWS article.


Colorado River Pulse Flow Begins

(March 28th, 2014) - LOS ALGODONES, MEXICO — It has been less than a week but U.S. and Mexican officials are already calling it a historic success.

On March 23, officials from both countries began to release water from Morelos Dam to the Colorado River Delta, some 70 miles downstream. That last stretch of the river has not seen any water in decades. Some 105,000 acre-feet will flow through the gates for eight weeks, with a peak of 4,238 cubic feet per second from Thursday through Sunday.  Read the full IMPERIAL VALLEY PRESS article.


Water, Wildlife Surge Back into Once Parched Colorado River Delta

(March 27th, 2014) - LOS ALGODONES, Mexico — Osvel Hinojosa knew that an infusion of water would bring the Colorado River delta back to life. But in just a few days, a U.S.-Mexican experiment to revive the delta environment has exceeded his expectations.

The water is running deeper, faster and wider than anticipated in a channel that was once bone-dry. Hinojosa has spotted hawks, egrets and ospreys flying above the newly flowing water. He's even seen beavers.  Read the full LA TIMES article.


Colorado River Begins Flooding Mexican Delta

(March 27, 2014) - LOS ALGODONES, Mexico — Colorado River water has begun pouring over a barren delta near the U.S.-Mexico border, the result of a landmark bi-national agreement being celebrated Thursday.

The gush of water in Mexico is an effort to revive the last 70-mile stretch of the river into the Sea of Cortez. The delta dried up decades ago.  Read the full YAHOO NEWS article.


Can the Colorado River Flow to the Sea?

(March 27, 2014) - Last Monday, in the town of San Luis Río Colorado, in the Mexican state of Sonora, hundreds of people gathered below a bridge that spans the dry channel of the Colorado River. The polka-beat of Ranchero music mixed with sound of laughter across the sandy basin. It was a party of all ages and everyone waited for the guest of honor: agua.  Read the full OUTSIDE ONLINE article.


United States and Mexico Celebrate Partnership for Historic Release of Colorado River Delta

BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO AND YUMA, AZ- (March 27, 2014) - Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor and Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science Anne Castle today joined other senior officials of the United States and Mexico to celebrate a historic first-time intentional release of water—called a “pulse flow”—from Morelos Dam near the U.S.-Mexico border. The water release—which began on March 23, reaches its peak today and will continue until mid-May— is part of a broad package of joint cooperative treaty actions to ensure the Colorado River system is able to continue to meet the needs of both nations.  Read the full ENEWS PARK FOREST article.


Water Returns to Dry Colorado River Delta

(March 27, 2014) - Yesterday, I paddled down a brand new river.  The Colorado River is running swiftly in its delta, where it hasn’t flowed for much of the past half century.  A growing population, extended drought, and tremendous institutional inertia have all contributed to the demise of what was once known as a landscape of a thousand green lagoons.  Read the full ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND article. 


Water Surge to Restore Colorado River Delta

(March 27, 2014) - An unprecedented cross-border delivery of water from the Colorado River earmarked for environmental purposes is being sent to Mexico as part of a binational effort to restore some of the last remaining wetlands in this parched but biologically important region.  Read the full U-T SAN DIEGO article.


Water Pulses Across U.S. - Mexico Border Through Historic Cooperation

(March 27, 2014)- Today, policymakers, water agencies and conservation organizations from the United States and Mexico are gathered at Morelos Dam, which straddles the U.S.–Mexico border, to witness the Colorado River “pulse flow,” and to celebrate the culmination of years of negotiations to restore the Colorado River Delta.  Read the full SONORAN INSTITUTE release.


Colorado River Delta Flooded for Experiment

(March 27, 2014) - LOS ALGODONES, Mexico – The Colorado River rushed past the U.S.-Mexican border this week for the first time since the late 1990s, a river reborn and rolling over desert sands on its way to a reunion with the Gulf of California.  Read the full AZ CENTRAL article.


Colorado River Begins Flooding Dried Up Delta on the Border, Brings Hope to Thousands

(March 27, 2014) - LOS ALGODONES, MEXICO (AP) –  Colorado River water has begun pouring over a barren delta in northwest Mexico, the result of a landmark agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that is being celebrated Thursday.

The gush of water in Mexico is an effort to revive the last 70-mile stretch of the river into the Sea of Cortez, which dried up decades ago. Read the full FOX NEWS LATINO article.


Restoring a Once Mighty River that has Slowed to a Trickle

(March 26, 2014) - Can you name the river that rises in a US state at the western edge of the Great Plains and travels 1,400 miles, passes through five US states and Mexico, and is being celebrated for an agreement between the two countries that includes environmental benefits for the first time ever?  Read the full PUBLIC RADIO INTERNATIONAL article.


Change the Course to Restore One Billion Gallons of Water to Colorado River Delta

(March 26, 2014) - Change the Course, a freshwater restoration movement, will restore 1 billion gallons of water to the Colorado River Delta to support the revitalization of wetland habitats in what was once one of the planet's great desert aquatic ecosystems. Change the Course is spearheaded by the National Geographic Society, Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) and Participant Media.  Read the full PHYS.ORG article.


The Case for Reconnecting the Colorado River to the Sea

Nearly two decades ago, when I first visited the delta of the Colorado River in northwestern Mexico, I became obsessed with the idea that major rivers like the Colorado were running dry. 

I knew what the Colorado Delta had once been—a 2-million-acre expanse of wetlands, lagoons, braided channels, and towering riverside cottonwoods and willows that sustained a myriad of bird and wildlife species. The great conservationist Aldo Leopold had called it a “milk-and-honey wilderness.”  Read the full TAKE PART article.


Water Being Sent to Parched Colorado River Delta
(March 25, 2014) - These days there's a bit more water flowing downstream in the Colorado River, the result of an historic agreement between the U.S. and Mexico to engineer an experimental spring flood in an effort to re-establish riparian habitat along the river in both countries and in the Colorado River Delta region of Mexico.  Read the full YUMA SUN article.


AZ Illustrated Nature: Monday, March 24, 2014

(March 24, 2014) - CO RIVER FLOWS: The U.S. and Mexico are holding a historic "pulse flow" of water on the river, which will allow the water to flow into a delta of the river that has been depleted for decades. The project is part of a "groundbreaking agreement" known as Minute 319.  View the ARIZONA PUBLIC MEDIA video.

U.S. Mexico Experiment Aims to Resurrect the Colorado River Delta

(March 23, 2014) Los Algodones, Mexico – The mighty Colorado River, which over millenniums has carved the Grand Canyon, does an unusual thing when it gets south of the Arizona-Mexico border. It dies.

The Morelos Dam — sitting on the international boundary — serves as its headstone, diverting nearly all of the river water into an aqueduct that serves agriculture as well as homes in Tijuana.

South of the dam, the river channel travels about 75 miles to the Gulf of California. Except when filled by rains, the channel is bone dry. But starting Sunday, the river will flow again, part of an unprecedented experiment by U.S. and Mexican officials.  Read the full LA TIMES article.


Historic "Pulse Flow" Brings Water to Parched Colorado River Delta

(March 22, 2014) - On March 23, 2014, the gates of Morelos Dam on the Arizona-Mexico border will be lifted to allow a "pulse flow" of water 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.  Read the full NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


This World Water Day, Something Big to Celebrate

(March 21, 2014) - On Monday, March 24, I leave on a trip to witness an event I thought I'd never see: the Colorado River flowing through it's delta to the sea.

Except in years of unusually high precipitation in it's watershed, the Colorado hasn't coursed through it's delta for most of the last half century.  It's entire flow - powerful enough to carve the Grand Canyon - is dammed and diverted to supply burgeoning cities and farmlands.  Read the full NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


Water Returns to Arid Colorado River Delta

(March 18, 2014) - On 23 March, operators at the Morelos Dam along the US–Mexico border near Yuma, Arizona, will open the gates and begin releasing water downstream. The goal is to dampen broad swathes of the arid Colorado River delta for the first time in decades, allowing new cottonwood and willow trees to germinate and restore small patches of riparian habitat.  Read the full NATURE article.


New Hope for the Delta

(March 17, 2014) - Just outside the dusty Mexican town of Carranza, Francisco Zamora wheels his Toyota pickup off the highway and down a gravel road along an irrigation canal. To one side, irregular farm fields flash by, fringed with reeds, sunflowers and an occasional shaggy palm. On the other side lies the bone-dry bed of the Colorado River. Straitjacketed between two levees roughly a mile apart and choked with mean, gray-green tamarisk, or salt cedar, it nonetheless has an emphatic presence – like a prehistoric creature waiting to rumble back to life.  Read the full HIGH COUNTRY NEWS article.


Will Ferrell and Robert Redford Make a Hilarious PSA for the Colorado River

(March 16, 2014) - Everyone knows the fastest way to spread the word about a topic is to get it to “go viral,” especially with an eminently shareable video — and that’s just what happened with the issue of the ever-drying Colorado River when Will Ferrell and Robert Redford teamed up to make a PSA about it. The clip starts out like just about any other issue ad — soaring orchestral music, majestic Planet Earth-style tracking shots of landscape, as Redford calmly and thoughtfully lays out his case for the importance of reconnecting the Colorado River with the ocean.  Read the full BUSTLE article.


Deluge to Bring Wetlands Back 

(March 15, 2014) - A gush of water reminiscent of the spring floods that once slaked lush wetlands here will surge past the dusty U.S. border next weekend and — with luck — carry the Southwest's grandest river to the sea for the first time since 1998.

For half a century, the Colorado River's great dams and the 30 million people who siphon water from the reservoirs ­behind them have effectively killed the river at Morelos Dam, west of Yuma.  Read the full AZ CENTRAL article.


Water Release May Revive Colorado River Delta

(March 14, 2014) - The Colorado River Delta will bloom once again if everything goes according to plan.

Beginning March 23, U.S. and Mexican officials will release more than 105,000 acre-feet of water through the last dam on the Colorado River over an eight-week period.  Read the full IMPERIAL VALLEY PRESS article.


Robert Redford, Will Ferrell and Kelly Slater Feud Over Best Solution for Restoring Colorado River Delta
Dueling videos debuting on Funny or Die shed light on a campaign to breathe life back into the parched Colorado River Delta

(March 13, 2014) San Francisco, CA – Actors Robert Redford and Will Ferrell, along with Professional Surfer Kelly Slater, are lending their creativity and talent to support Raise the River, a campaign designed to help breathe life back into the Colorado River Delta. The campaign aims to raise $10 million by 2017 to restore a 70-mile stretch of river and wetland habitat and to benefit the communities of the long-neglected Delta. Raise the River, working with like-minded partners in the United States and Mexico, is giving the public an opportunity to be part of restoring the Colorado River as the life force of the American West. Click here for more information from RAISE THE RIVER.


Young Farmer Saves Water in Innovative Ways

On a cold and dry December Friday, Zach Hauser is getting ready for a weekend of hunting. The next morning at about 4 a.m., he and a handful of friends will make a nearly three-hour uphill trek into the Arizona woods. There they will tread quietly looking for elk and whitetail deer. On occasion, they come across a mountain lion.

They will probably return late the same night, but "if we get something, we might stay the night and sleep on the ground," Hauser says. "It's better to carry it back in the morning."  Read the full NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.


A Pulse of Life at the Mouth of the Colorado

(March 10, 2014) - A river bled dry by thirsty cities and farms in two countries will flow once again through northern Mexico later this month in an international experiment in habitat restoration.

Beginning March 23, the last dam on the Colorado River will open its gates to unleash a man-made flood that is scheduled to last eight weeks and send more than 100,000 acre-feet of water to the river’s delta, the biggest flood in decades.  Read the full LAS VEGAS REVIEW article.


Colorado River Delta to Recieve Infusion of Water

(March 4, 2014) - The United States and Mexico plan to collaborate this month on a pilot project aimed at restoring wetlands in the Colorado River delta in Baja California through a one-time high-volume delivery of river water, a move hailed as historic by environmental groups on both sides of the border.  Read the full U-T SAN DIEGO article.


US and Mexico to Send Water into Parched Delta

(March 3, 2014) Tucson, ARIZONA - The U.S. and Mexican governments have approved a plan to carry out a historic and vital step in advancing cooperative management of the binational Colorado River. The two governments, acting through the U.S. and Mexican sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission, are moving forward with a pilot "pulse flow" of water into the long-depleted delta of the Colorado River, where water has not flowed regularly since 1960. Read the full SONORAN INSTITUTE release.


Scientists Plan for Grand Experiment in Colorado River Delta

(December 12, 2013) - Once written off as dying of thirst and beyond revival, the delta of the Colorado River is slated to get a rejuvenating flood that for scientists offers a unique opportunity: the chance to study how plants, trees, birds, fisheries, and the vast delta ecosystem as a whole respond to an experimental pulse of river water.  Read the full NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.