Lower Colorado River

Sponsors and Partners:

Yuma Community College, Inmate Nature Rehabilitation Program, Desert Botanical Garden, Bureau of Land Management, Evergreen College, Northern Arizona University, National Science Foundation, Arizona Department of Game and Fish

Project Duration: 2007 to Current

Project Overview

Lower Colorado River

The Land:

The Lower Colorado River below Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Due to the endangered status of the southwestern willow flycatcher, congress approved the Multi-Species Conservation Program where riparian ecosystems are being created from centuries-old agricultural fields by rewatering and planting riparian vegetation.

The People:

We are working with local communities, schools, and volunteer groups as well as the inmate nature rehabilitation program to revegetate several areas along the Colorado River. Several graduate students are conducting research at several experimental research plantings that we designed and implemented.

The Restoration:

Between the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve in Blythe, California and the Gulf of California, we have planted over 100,000 trees. These plantings have resulted in the natural regeneration of over 2 million trees.

We are leading several research projects in this area, including a NSF funded research project where we are working to understand climate change impacts to plants and the communities that they support as well as guide efforts to select the best genotypes and seeds adapted to future climates. We are studying the interaction between tamarisk and cottonwoods and how this interaction may shape the future of riparian communities in the future under global warming.