Mexican cowboys celebrated the 2014 historic pulse flow of Colorado River Delta with laughter, galloping and even dancing horses.
A 'river rat' paddles a stand up paddle board through the Morelos Dam in Mexico. It gates are typically closed but were opened for a historic pulse flow moving its way across the dry Colorado River Delta, part of a binational agreement for restoration.
On March 28th, 2014, the Morelos Dam on the Colorado River is wide open, allowing river water to move due south down the historic river channel some 100 miles to the Sea of Cortez. Typically, the dam gates are sealed tight diverting the last of the river into the Reforma Canal on the left of the image.
Colorado River feeds much of America's salad bowl - lettuce, spinach, carrots, dates, and more. An aerial perspective of a celery harvest in fields next to the Colorado River. A historic pulse flow moving its way across the dry Colorado River Delta, part of a binational agreement for restoration, did little to affect business as usual.
Fred Philips smudging the CILA restoration site during the 2014 pulse flow across the dry Colorado River Delta in Mexico -- part of a binational agreement for restoration.
The end of the Colorado River moves into Mexico - creating an impromptu fiesta at the river's edge - slowly moving south. This stretch of river at San Luis, Mexico, just south of the US/Mexican border fence, is typically a river of sand.
Three days after the pulse flow releae, crowds of Mexicans celebrate the return of the Colorado River in San Luis, Sonora. Typically, this is a river of sand, but for a few weeks in April, it was a full rio - and people came out in drove.
Within hours of water reaching the community of San Luis, just over the US/ Mexican border, fisherman were reeling in carp and more. Mexicans celebrated the historic pulse flow moving its way across the dry Colorado River Delta for week.
Paddling the Colorado River delta - at night to avoid drug traffickers in the lower more abondoned sections of the river. At one point during the first ascent by SUP across this forgotten, dry stretch of river, the team low-crawl paddled on the river, to avoid being seen by "malditos" or drug runners on the shore.
Delta conservationist and bird expert, Osvel Hinojosa, helps break an illegeal dam blocking the historic pulse flow moving its way across the dry Colorado River Delta, part of a binational agreement for restoration.
Fred Philips creates a "butt dam" on the leading edge of a historic pulse flow moving its way across the dry Colorado River Delta, part of a binational agreement for restoration. "We are dammng the Colorado with our butts..." he laughs. Sam Walton and author Rowan Jacobsen help. They jumped to their feet releasing a 'flash flood' which ulitmately washed out the illegal dam.
Sam Walton and Juan Butron paddling the crest of the historic 2014 pulse flow across the dry Colorado River Delta, Mexico into the CILA site 55 miles below the Morelos Dam. Teh pulse flow was part of a binational agreement for restoration. With Sam Walton and Juan Butron
Passerbys marvel at water in the Colorado River at the last major bridge in the delta roughly 50 miles from the sea.
While paddling the crest of the historic 2014 pulse flow across the dry Colorado River Delta, Mexico -- the team encountered green water stretches, tanine laces sandy reaches (seen above) and over 60 species of birds.
The drainage tendrils at the end of the Colorado River resemble the roots of a tree when see from the air. A trickle of fresh water creeping south can be seen on the lower left - unusual since these patterns drainages typically only drain salt water from high tides.
Local wildlife expert Juan Butron contemplates the bushwacking ahead -- roughly 40 more miles of mosquito, snake, scorpion infested cattails and tamerisk forests. "There is water in the rio again," he kept saying. "Amazing."
Acroos the delta, people came out to see the rare sight - agua in the Colorado. These children played in the shallows the entire time we stopped to eat a snack during the first SUP crossing of the delta.
The end of the dry Colorado River meets the Sea of Cortez and a fishing boat moviing upstream. For a brief window in the spring of 2014, the river flowed to the sea again.
The Colorado River seen from the bridge just south of the US/Mexican border in San Luis Colorado. Left image: November 2013. Right image: March 2014. The view returned to the view of 2013 in May of 2014 after a tempory pulse flow ended.
Team Delta Force: L-R Pete McBride, Juan Butron, Sam Walton, Osvel Hinojosa, Rowan Jacobsen, Fred Philips -- during the 2014 pulse flow of MInute 319 -- its way across the dry Colorado River Delta, part of a binational agreement for restoration.
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