Two Nations, One River: Managing Ecosystem Conservation in the Colorado River Delta

Posted: 16 Jul 2001

See all articles by Jennifer Pitt

Jennifer Pitt

Environmental Defense Fund - Colorado Office

Daniel F. Luecke

Environmental Defense Fund - Colorado Office

Michael Cohen

Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environments and Security

Edward P. Glenn

University of Arizona - Environmental Research Laboratory Library

Carlos Valdes-Casillas

Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) - Campus Guaymas

Abstract

The Colorado River delta historically consisted of riparian, freshwater, brackish, and tidal wetlands that covered 1,930,000 acres and supported a legendary richness of plant, bird, and marine life. Dam construction and water diversions in the United States and Mexico in the twentieth century reduced the Delta to small areas of wetlands and brackish mudflats. The Delta is no longer a system that can be understood solely in terms of biology and hydrology; human actions, embedded within a complex institutional framework, have significantly altered and modified the Delta. In the last two decades, flood releases from reservoirs in the United States and agricultural return flows from both the United States and Mexico have begun to restore Delta ecosystems on about 150,000 acres. Deliberate management of existing water resources can significantly improve conditions in this region. This article reviews the numerous institutions that can play a role in conservation of the Colorado River delta and discusses options to protect the Delta's ecosystems, including changing international institutions and agreements to support Delta ecosystems; using U.S. federal law to find legal remedies, asserting Delta ecosystem requirements in ongoing, related management issues; establishing market mechanisms and funding sources for Delta preservation; and increasing public participation in Colorado River decisions that affect the Delta.

Suggested Citation

Pitt, Jennifer and Luecke, Daniel F. and Cohen, Michael and Glenn, Edward P. and Valdes-Casillas, Carlos, Two Nations, One River: Managing Ecosystem Conservation in the Colorado River Delta. Natural Resources Journal, Vol. 40, No. 4, Fall 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=256578

Jennifer Pitt (Contact Author)

Environmental Defense Fund - Colorado Office ( email )

2334 North Broadway
Boulder, CO 80304
United States
303-440-4901 (Phone)
303-440-8052 (Fax)

Daniel F. Luecke

Environmental Defense Fund - Colorado Office ( email )

2334 North Broadway
Boulder, CO 80304
United States
303-440-4901 (Phone)
303-440-8052 (Fax)

Michael Cohen

Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environments and Security ( email )

654 13th Street
Preservation Park
Oakland, CA 94612
United States
510-251-1600 (Phone)
510-251-2203 (Fax)

Edward P. Glenn

University of Arizona - Environmental Research Laboratory Library ( email )

2601 E. Airport Drive
Tucson, AZ 85706-6905
United States
520-573-0852 (Fax)

Carlos Valdes-Casillas

Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) - Campus Guaymas ( email )

+52 (6) 22 1 03 15 Ext. 119 (Phone)
+52 (6) 22 1 02 43 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
1,449
PlumX Metrics