In the past 100 years, the Colorado River delta has gone from a very green area to quite brown and dead, thanks to huge demand on the water by the United States and Mexico. However, a plan is in place to generate an annual “pulse flow” from the Morelos dam in an effort to simulate a spring flood and help bring life back to the area.
The image above was captured back on March 8 of this year, showing Morelos dam and the surrounding area. You can view it in Google Earth by loading this KML file.
Researchers and water managers plan to track the changes using Landsat 8 and other satellite imagery to see how the area responds. Read more about this image and the “pulse” plan over on the NASA Earth Observatory site.
Over the years Google has taken Street View to some interesting places, including locations such as Venice and under the surface of the ocean. They’ve now added a trip down the Colorado River, and it looks amazing!
While you admire its grandeur, remember that the river is also at risk. One of the United States’ most important resources, the Colorado River provides drinking water for 36 million people from Denver to Los Angeles, supports a $26 billion recreation industry, and irrigates nearly 4 million acres of land that grow 15 percent of our nation’s crops. But it’s also one of the most endangered, dammed, diverted and plumbed rivers in the world, thanks to a century of management policies and practices that have promoted the use of Colorado River water at an unsustainable rate. By the time it reaches the Gulf of California in Mexico, the river is barely a trickle—a ghost of its once magnificent self. You can see evidence of the river’s decline In Street View, like the high water mark (showing 1950s driftwood on top of the rock), or sedimentation along the river’s edge down by Lake Mead.