Earth Matters

Pulse Flow Ecosystem Restoration Sites

April 30th, 2014 by Adam Voiland


Scientists involved in the Minute 319 “pulse flow” say the effort has achieved its main objective: delivering water to special ecological restoration zones along the Colorado River. While cottonwood and willows have retreated from most areas due to a lack of water, conservation groups including the Sonoran Institute and Pronatura Noroeste have been working to revive ecosystems in areas where there is good soil and perhaps enough groundwater and farm runoff to support forests.

At the Laguna Cori, Laguna Grande, and CILA sites, for instance, the Sonoran Institute has been planting saplings, removing invasive plants, and grooming the landscape to make it more likely for trees to germinate. On April 16, 2014, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 observed water from the pulse flow replenishing wetlands in these area with water. For comparison, the lower image was acquired on March 31, 2014. The aerial image at the top of the page, first published by the Sonoran Institute, shows the Laguna Granda ecological zone inundated with water on April 14, 2014.

April 16, 2014

March 31, 2014

While greening is not yet visible to Landsat 8, the effects of the pulse flow are visible at ground level. On April 29, the Sonoran Institute began tweeting some of the first images of tree seeds germinating in response to the flow.

To learn more about the pulse flow, read Restoring a Pulse to the Lower Colorado and A River Renewed.


2 Responses to “Pulse Flow Ecosystem Restoration Sites”

  1. Thor Danielsen says:

    Amazing pictures. To see that someone is taking action on the lack of transnational agreements on watermanagement is uplifting.

  2. Jared Wain Jarvi says:

    The project looks exciting. It would seam most beneficial for the health of the water system itself to run through a green forested zone, where it could be shaded from evaporation and filtered through the safety of its own ecosystem along its journey.