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Environment Magazine September/October 2008

May-June 2013

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A Delta in Repair: Restoration, Binational Cooperation, and the Future of the Colorado River Delta

When conservationist Aldo Leopold explored the Colorado River Delta by canoe in 1922, he described the diverse wildlife he encountered, including egrets, beaver, deer, coyotes, raccoons, and jaguar that roamed the area. Shrimp and totoaba migrated from the upper Gulf of California to spawn in the delta's brackish waters. Small porpoises swam in the estuaries. Leopold wrote of the green lagoons that were a “deep emerald hue, colored by algae,” and a “verdant wall of mesquite and willow separated the channel from the thorny desert beyond.”1 Considered to be one of the most productive deltas in the world, the Colorado River Delta was once home to some one million acres of riparian and marsh wetlands where diverse species of flora and fauna found their home.2

Andrea K. Gerlak is the Director of Academic Development at the International Studies Association and a Senior Policy Associate at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona;

Hannah P. Kahler recently earned her BS in Environmental Studies and Anthropology from Tufts University. Presently, she works as an Animal Care and Adoption Center Agent at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and is planning to pursue graduate education in the field of Human-Animal Interaction

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