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.

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

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.

RELATED: Saving America’s Nile: How the Quechan Are Rehabbing the Colorado River

With reporting by Lee Allen

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Intergenerational Trauma: Understanding Natives’ Inherited Pain

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Colorado River

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.

Colorado River

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.

Colorado River

Fred Phillips Consulting

Another heartwarming look at restoration efforts along the lower Colorado River.

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Intergenerational Trauma: Understanding Natives’ Inherited Pain

Download our free report, Intergenerational Trauma: Understanding Natives’ Inherited Pain, to understand this fascinating concept.


Colorado River

Fred Phillips Consulting

This is a marsh and a transitional zone.

Colorado River

Fred Phillips Consulting

More restoration of a marsh and transitional zone in the lower

Colorado River

Fred Phillips Consulting

Another marsh and transitional zone area.

Colorado River

Fred Phillips Consulting

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

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Intergenerational Trauma: Understanding Natives’ Inherited Pain

Download our free report, Intergenerational Trauma: Understanding Natives’ Inherited Pain, to understand this fascinating concept.


Colorado River

Fred Phillips Consulting

Another marshy area transformed by the Quechan Tribe and partners.

Colorado River

Fred Phillips Consulting

More revegetation of mesquite and other native plants on the lower Colorado River.

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

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