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May 14, 2014 5:19 PM by Meteorologist Valerie Abati

Restoring The Natural Flow Of The Colorado River

It's been almost half a century since the Colorado River completed it's original course. Starting in Colorado, the 1,450 mile river is suppose to end in the Gulf of California. But due to years of agriculture, and an increasing demand for water upstream, many parts of Mexico see only a trickle of once was.

But due to recent studies, and an international agreement between the US and Mexico, governments have agreed to open the dams once again. In order to act like the normal ecosystem of the river, the Morelos Dam has released more than 105,000 acre-feet this spring. Although this is less than one percent of what used to flow through Mexico, it's enough to help restore a vital ecosystem that is on the brink of extinction.

The Colorado River Basin in Mexico used to be a lush marshland with a variety of plants and animals. Since the 1960's, the environment has changed over to an arid desert. This 'pulse flow' of water is meant to act as the normal increase in the river due to melting snow from the Rocky Mountains. It's vital to the area to help spread seedlings and regrow plants. And so far, it looks like it's working. Scientists studying this experiment have reported some seedlings starting to grow in the rejuvenated area. The River itself however, looks like it will not be connecting to the Gulf of California as years of sand and vegetation buildup have damned it's path in southern Mexico.

No word on if the experiment was a one time thing, or if it'll continue for years to come.



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