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The Colorado Delta was once one of the planet’s great desert aquatic ecosystems, boasting 2 million acres of lush wetland habitat. For millions of years, it received a huge spring flood as the winter snows melted in the Rocky Mountains and the resulting flows coursed south. The flood waters spread across the delta before emptying into the upper Gulf of California.
That yearly flood cleansed the river channel and floodplain, recharged groundwater, aided the reproduction of native cottonwoods and willows, and sustained the overall delta ecosystem and its extraordinary bird and wildlife habitat. It also connected the Colorado River to the sea, where fisheries depend on the mixing of saltwater with fresh water for their spawning and rearing grounds.
I do wonder if this increase in water volume will influence the southern Imperial fault zone/Gulf of California rift zone, near Mexicali? Could this flooding trigger a large quake?
It has been shown that flooding can "lubricate" faults, and that flood control may be partially responsible for the "lull" in big quakes along the southern San Andreas. Link
Additional source ABCedit on 3/17/2014 by Olivine because: (no reason given)
My first questions is, is the damage already done?
If the dam has been there for some time, then I can see a situation where animal/plant life that this flooding would normally help, having already sustained to much harm to easily "spring back" from the lack of extra water.
In the mid-1980s, scientists noted that accidental releases of water into the Colorado River Delta, when upstream reservoirs were full, significantly enlarged its wetland areas. Then, in the 1990s, floods in both the Colorado River and Gila River (a tributary of the Colorado River) delivered more than 2.4 trillion gallons (9.3 trillion liters) of water into the delta in multiple pulses, breathing new life into riverbank vegetation.
I'm sorry this seems like a eco response to allow the corporate farms access to water despite the drought.
The flood is one consequence of a five-year agreement signed in 2012 as part of the U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty. This section of the treaty, known as Minute 319, mostly deals with issues such as how the countries will share and store water, but it also permitted an experiment to send a pulse of 34 billion gallons (130 billion liters) of water coursing down the Mexican extent of the Colorado River, a stretch drained dry by overuse upstream in the United States.
The pulse will start slowly Sunday, when officials lift the gates at the Morelos Dam, west of Yuma, Ariz., releasing about 700 cubic feet of water per second. It will peak Thursday when about 4,200 cubic feet per second will rush through the dam. Over eight weeks, an estimated 105,000 acre-feet will be released.
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.