From Barren to Bountiful: 10 Before and After Photos of CO River Restoration

Courtesy Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Corporation / An aerial view of some of the remarkable restoration that has been wrought on the lower Colorado River by the Quechan Tribe with other partners.

A win for Mother Earth and for us as natural beauty is restored

For the past several years the Quechan Tribe has been working with the City of Yuma, landowners and federal agencies to restore the wetlands on both sides of the lower Colorado River. About 1,200 acres had been restored as of 2014 thanks to a collaborative effort. The results of this teamwork and collaboration are stunning and serve as an example of what is possible when tribal members, wildlife officials, landowners and business people can accomplish together. As the photos in this gallery show, the landscape has been transformed from something that looked like a “crater on the moon”—as Charles Flynn, executive director of the rehab project, described it—to a lushly life-affirming habitat.

Mother Earth wins, and so do we.

Courtesy Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Corporation / Before the restoration, the lower Colorado River was a no-man’s land of junk, meth labs and hobo camps.

Fred Phillips Consulting / A stark contrast can be seen between what used to be and what now is. It took just a few short years to restore sections of the lower Colorado River to something approaching their former glory.

Fred Phillips Consulting / Another heartwarming look at restoration efforts along the lower Colorado River.

Fred Phillips Consulting / This is a marsh and a transitional zone.

Fred Phillips Consulting / More restoration of a marsh and transitional zone in the lower

Fred Phillips Consulting / Another marsh and transitional zone area.

Fred Phillips Consulting / Creative use of tides and water structures helped enact all the changes throughout this lower Colorado River habitat.

Fred Phillips Consulting / Another marshy area transformed by the Quechan Tribe and partners.

Fred Phillips Consulting/ More revegetation of mesquite and other native plants on the lower Colorado River.

Courtesy Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Corporation / An aerial view of some of the remarkable restoration that has been wrought on the lower Colorado River by the Quechan Tribe with other partners.

This story was originally published May 20, 2014.

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