The Colorado River Delta, now the largely brown and speckled area in the lower left of this NASA photo, was once one of the largest and most biologically rich wetlands in North America, stretching from the borders of California, Arizona and the Mexican state of Baja California to the Sea of Cortez roughly 100 miles to the south. It's been largely destroyed by water diversions from a series of dams built in the mid-20th century.

Credit:

NASA/Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

After being largely emptied by other upriver dams in the US, the last drops of the Colorado River are diverted to Mexican farms by the Morelos Dam on the US-Mexico border. For two months this spring, the dam was opened to create a flood through parts of the river's former delta below the dam, meant to mimic the seasonal floods that washed through the area every spring before the dams were built.

Credit:

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon

Water flowing through a habitat restoration site in the Colorado River Delta on May 30, 2014.

Credit:

Jill Replogle

Alejandra Calvo and Juan Butrón, from the Mexican environmental organization, Pronatura, examine a seed trap.

Credit:

Jill Replogle

The pod of screwbean mesquite, a tree native to the Colorado River Delta. May 29, 2014.

Credit:

Jill Replogle

1875 Employees of the Sonoran Institute, an Arizona-based conservation group, plant cottonwood and willow trees in the Mexicali Valley.

Credit:

Jill Replogle

Yuliana Dimas from the Mexican conservation group Pronatura at the organization's native tree nursery near San Luis Rio Colorado.

Credit:

Jill Replogle

A pair of burrowing owls in the Mexicali Valley. May 30, 2014. (Photo by Jill Replogle)

Credit:

Jill Replogle

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