Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UA Scientists Lead Effort to Evaluate Unprecedented Environmental Flow to Colorado Delta

25.03.2014

University of Arizona scientists Karl Flessa and Ed Glenn and a binational team of scientists will monitor the effects of an engineered spring flood to bring water to the parched Colorado River delta.

The pulse flow of water into the dry lower reaches of the Colorado River began Sunday. 

“This allocation of environmental water to the Colorado River Delta in Mexico is unprecedented,” said Flessa, UA professor of geosciences and co-chief scientist of the monitoring effort. “We need to learn how to actively manage habitats at this scale. The scientific monitoring of the pulse flow and its aftermath will help us do so.” 

Upstream dams and water diversions for farms and cities in both countries have dried up most of the river south of the border. With the exception of a few wet years, the river has not reached the Gulf of California since 1960.

... more about:
»Arizona »Colorado »Delta »Environmental »Flow »Pronatura »spring

The U.S. and Mexico will release about 105,000 acre-feet of water, approximately 0.7 percent of the river’s annual flow, into the delta below Morelos Dam, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border just west of Yuma. An acre-foot of water is 325,900 gallons.

“We’re trying to simulate a spring flood, even though the amount of water is small compared to the natural spring floods of the era before the dams, when the river regularly flowed over its banks and formed extensive wetlands and forests of cottonwoods,” Flessa said.

This engineered spring flood is one outcome of Minute 319, a 2012 addition to the 1944 U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty. 

The agreement is a framework for cooperation that provides multiple benefits for Colorado River water users in both countries, including environmental flows to the delta. Minute 319 identifies criteria for sharing of future water shortages and surpluses between the two countries, allows storage of Mexican water in Lake Mead and funds improvements to Mexican irrigation infrastructure.

The five-year program to monitor the environmental results of the pulse flow is being supported by government agencies and environmental groups in both countries, under the auspices of the International Boundary and Water Commission.

The monitoring team includes scientists from the UA, the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, The Nature Conservancy, the Tucson-based Sonoran Institute and the Ensenada-based Pronatura Noroeste.

“The pulse flow is a vital part of our ongoing restoration efforts. We know that relatively small amounts of water can make a big difference in the health of the delta region,” said Francisco Zamora Arroyo, director of the Colorado River Delta Legacy Program at the Sonoran Institute.

Ed Glenn, UA professor emeritus of soil, water and environmental science, is leading the vegetation and remote-sensing teams. The pulse flow is designed to stimulate the growth of the delta’s natural vegetation by dispersing native seeds and fostering their growth by raising the water table in the vicinity of the river’s now-dry channel. 

New growth will create the habitats that support wildlife. Close to 380 bird species are expected to benefit from this return of water to the delta, said  UA alumnus Osvel Hinojosa, the water and wetlands program director at Pronatura Noroeste.

“We’re all energized by such big science that could have such a big outcome for restoration on the delta and in dryland rivers elsewhere," Flessa said. "Ed Glenn and I have been working on the delta for more than 20 years and this is a dream come true. People told us this would never happen – and here it is.”

The UA and its partners in the Colorado River Minute 319 Binational Partnership received a U.S. Department of Interior 2013 Partners in Conservation Award in January. Glenn accepted the award on behalf of the UA. 

# # #

Media Contact 

Mari N. Jensen

520-626-9635

mnjensen@email.arizona.edu

Researcher Contact

Karl Flessa

520-444-5383

kflessa@email.arizona.edu

Daniel Stolte | University of Arizona
Further information:
http://www.arizona.edu

Further reports about: Arizona Colorado Delta Environmental Flow Pronatura spring

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Past and present sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay Region, USA
29.07.2015 | Geological Society of America

nachricht “Carbon sink” detected underneath world’s deserts
29.07.2015 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.

Im Focus: Unlocking the rice immune system

Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...

Im Focus: Smarter window materials can control light and energy

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.

By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...

Im Focus: Simulations lead to design of near-frictionless material

Argonne scientists used Mira to identify and improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale for the first time. Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) researchers helped enable the groundbreaking simulations by overcoming a performance bottleneck that doubled the speed of the team's code.

While reviewing the simulation results of a promising new lubricant material, Argonne researcher Sanket Deshmukh stumbled upon a phenomenon that had never been...

Im Focus: NASA satellite camera provides 'EPIC' view of Earth

A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away.

The color images of Earth from NASA's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) are generated by combining three separate images to create a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Euro Bio-inspired - International Conference and Exhibition on Bio-inspired Materials

23.07.2015 | Event News

Clash of Realities – International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

10.07.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

A New Litmus Test for Chaos?

29.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

New Computer Model Could Explain how Simple Molecules Took First Step Toward Life

29.07.2015 | Life Sciences

New ERC calls published under Horizon 2020

29.07.2015 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>