Recent News - Binational Agreement
Contacts - Binational Agreement
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Landmark Binational Policy: Water for the Delta
In November of 2012, an historic agreement was made between the United States and Mexico to bring water back to the Colorado River in Mexico and expand restoration efforts. The agreement is a significant step forward for Sonoran Institute and partners in achieving conservation goals for the benefit of wildlife and people in the region.
The Sonoran Institute’s collaborative work over the past 15 years with local communities and governmental and nongovernmental organizations in the region spurred the additional support and awareness needed to make this agreement a reality. In addition to establishing new guidelines for the management of the river during times of drought, the agreement prioritizes water conservation and the environment to ensure that the Delta will continue to thrive in the future. Read more about the agreement details.
As part of the agreement, the Colorado River Delta Water Trust, an entity made up of a coalition of NGOs including the Sonoran Institute, is required to secure one-third of the total base flow that will be allocated to the Colorado River, while Mexico and the U.S. will contribute the remaining two-thirds of the flows. Additionally, the agreement requires the NGO coalition to scale-up restoration efforts in the Delta.
This unique opportunity to dedicate environmental flows to the Delta and expand restoration through binational collaboration is once in a lifetime. The Sonoran Institute needs your help to fulfill their commitment in the binational agreement.
How can you help?
1. You can donate funds to the Water Trust, which will be used to acquire water to reestablish flows in the Colorado River in Mexico.
2. You can donate to the Colorado River Delta Program, to support our on-the-ground restoration efforts. *Under the “I would like my gift to support” drop down box, please be sure to choose “Delta Campaign”, or list the Delta Program on your check.
3. Get involved through our Save the Colorado River Delta Facebook site to learn more about our work in the Delta and support our take action campaigns.
What does the agreement mean for the Delta?
The agreement signifies that approximately 100 miles of the Colorado River in Mexico, which were previously dry or stagnant, will once again flow with freshwater all the way to the sea. By returning base and pulse flows to the system, significant amounts of riparian, marsh, and estuarine habitat will be regenerated in the Delta. Extirpated local bird species are predicted to return, and more than 380 migratory bird species would once again have a large swath of habitat located in the bottleneck of the Pacific Flyway in which to rest and feed. In addition, increased freshwater flows that reach the Upper Gulf of California will greatly benefit fish and shrimp populations in the Gulf by creating additional critical spawning and nursing habitat.
Returning flows to the river and scaling up restoration efforts will also positively impact local communities and indigenous populations through the creation of new economic and recreational opportunities. Ecotourism and hunting and fishing operations will expand as wildlife and game populations increase due to a restored river. Additionally, new job opportunities will be created through on-the-ground restoration projects along the riparian corridor.
For the indigenous groups in the region, particularly the Kwapa tribe whose name means “people of the river”, a restored river system could lead to a resurgence of culture and tradition. In addition to strengthening the enduring cultural connection the Kwapa people have with the river, an increase of fish and wildlife will improve subsistence-based activities for the tribe.