Colorado River Delta lost its wetlands. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Colorado River Delta, where most of the wetlands have vanished in recent decades.
According to NASA, 90 percent of the wetlands were wiped out in the Colorado River Delta after the water was diverted into an irrigation canal near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Most of the former lagoons in the region are now salt flats. Without nutrients from the river, far fewer species are present.
The image was captured on March 20, 2020 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
The Colorado River Delta is the region where the Colorado River flows into the Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez) in eastern Mexicali Municipality in the north of the state of Baja California in northwesternmost Mexico. The delta is part of a larger geologic region called the Salton Trough. Historically, the interaction of the river’s flow and the ocean’s tide created a dynamic environment, supporting freshwater, brackish, and saltwater species. Within the delta region, the river split into multiple braided channels and formed a complex estuary and terrestrial ecosystems. The use of water upstream and the accompanying reduction of freshwater flow has resulted in the loss of most of the wetlands of the area, as well as drastic changes to the aquatic ecosystems. However, a scheme is currently in place which aims to rejuvenate the wetlands by releasing a pulse of water down the river delta
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory