Sustainability and Sense of Place in the Sonoran Desert/Lower Colorado River

Sonoramap lg


The Decrease Colorado River space is house to a myriad of specimens, starting from the enduring barrel cactus to the venomous rattlesnake. Whereas this area is understood particularly for its scorching sizzling temperatures, and its lengthy river, this following data will discover the specifics behind life on this area.

Sonoramap lg


Animal within the Decrease Colorado Area[edit]

Colorado River Toad[edit]

The Colorado River Toad ranges from 4.Three to 7.Four inches (110 to 187 mm). Its pores and skin is leathery and might vary from olive brown to black, with bumps and glands on their eyes and limbs. Feminine toads are distinguished by pink warts in straight strains on their again. Tadpoles have a brassy coloration, rounded tail, flat physique, and might attain 2.2 inches (57 mm) in size.
Though the Colorado River Toad is listed as safe in Arizona, it’s endangered in New Mexico and thought of regionally extinct in California.

Sonoran Desert Toad

Melanerpes uropygialis[edit]

One animal within the Decrease Colorado Area is the Gila Woodpecker. The wings of the chicken are noticed and have zebra-like sample, additionally they have a gray and tan coloration neck, throat and stomach. The distinction between female and male Gila Woodpeckers is males have a pink cap on their head and females and youthful birds wouldn’t have the pink cap. Many of those birds could be present in low desert scrubs within the Sonoran Desert. Many of those birds make their properties in Saguaros or in Honey Mesquite timber. Breeding for these animals happens in a gap within the Saguaro or Honey Mesquite. Sometimes they lay about three to 4 eggs and this happens normally about two to a few instances a yr. Apparently each women and men feed and incubate the eggs. The Gila Woodpecker normally feeds on bugs however it can sometimes feed on fruits, nectar, seeds, lizards, worms and typically they are going to even eat younger chicks. In California the variety of Gila Woodpeckers has dropped drastically however in Arizona the quantity is remaining fixed. it’s believed that the drastic drop in quantity in Gila Woodpeckers in California is because of local weather change. The Saguaro, which additionally homes Gila Woodpeckers, has been drastically effected by local weather change and would not develop as quick because it normally does. So if one of many habitats aren’t obtainable for these birds they are going to go some other place or simply wont survive.

Gila Woodpecker . Melanerpes uropygialis - Flickr - gailhampshire

Panthera onca[edit]

People are having a continuing impression on these crops, together with different endangered animal species. In keeping with Joe Zentner, the distribution of the Jaguar (Panthera onca) is all alongside the southwest of america (Zenter, n.d.). It is uncommon to see one in all these animals as a result of they’re at present an endangered species. Identical to the Organ Pipe Cactus, people have change into a big menace. For instance, with the development of the border wall and searching of the jaguar, their inhabitants is reducing (Kutz, 2019). Since jaguars prey on livestock, farmers kill these animals to stop this from taking place. The event of the border wall is affecting the habitat and inhabitants of each these species. The wall will take over a number of the lands that the organ pipe cactus covers. The impact that this has on the jaguars is that it is limiting their journey motion. Joe Zentner mentions in his article, ” jaguars at present are discovered on this nation solely in southern Arizona, and their existence there’s precarious” (Zenter, n.d). To guard these animals, america put them underneath the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act is encouraging farmers to attempt to preserve their livestock, so Jaguars do not feed off of them.

Jaguar 2

Pylodictis olivaris[edit]

Flathead Catfish resemble cats on account of their whiskers and sly method of shifting concerning the sea flooring. These fish additionally range in measurement and size. Majority of catfish species in reside the Americas. Numerous them reside in freshwater and shallow water habitats together with the Colorado river. This catfish can develop to about 155cm (61 inches) and might weigh about 56kg (126lb). They’re additionally identified to be the second largest catfish in North America. The common size is roughly 25-46in (64-117cm). It most lifespan that has been recorded is about 24 years. Male catfish have a tendency mature at about Four years outdated and feminine catfish mature at about 5 years outdated. The Flathead Catfish prefers reside prey. It feeds on different fish and bugs as properly. The habitat for this animal is west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Flathead Catfish

Mule deer[edit]

The mule deer is taken into account to be a deer that’s indigenous to western facet of North America and is understood for its ears which has come to be massive like these of the mule. Moreover, the deer is just discovered within the western space such because the Nice Plains and the Rocky Mountains by which one of many greatest distinction between the white tailed deer and the mule is their look is the colour of their configuration of their antlers and the dimensions of their ears. The mules deer’s tail can also be black tipped when the whitetail will not be. Their antlers are bifurcated by which they fork as they develop relatively then branching from a single major beam.


Crops within the Decrease Colorado Area[edit]

Apricot Mallow[edit]

One sort of plant is the apricot mallow which grows to three toes in peak and spreads as much as 2 to three toes in width. The leaves are fuzzy with white hairs on each side, lobed, palmately veined, and on lengthy stems, the variety of which enhance in age. The fruit is a brown capsule containing many seeds with it first being fairly spherical as implied by its authentic title, and later flattening to a disk. The flowers are bowl-shaped, five-petaled, apricot to orange in coloration, and bloom within the spring. It grows properly in alkaline soil, each sandy or clay with it normally being within the firm of the creosote bush scrub and desert chaparral habitats. It’s a larval host to the frequent checkered skipper, northern white skipper, painted girl, small checkered skipper, and west coast girl.

Apricot Mallow (24941300056)

Parkinsonia aculeata[edit]

The Mexican palo verde (Parkinsonia aculeata) can both be a spiny shrub or a small tree. It may develop to be between 6 to 26 toes tall. The leaves can develop to be 15 to 20 centimeters lengthy and develop about 25 tiny oval leaflets (WIkipedia, 2020). About eight of the yellow-orange flowers develop on the tree and this happens between March and April or September and October. In sure areas this plant could be one of many worst weeds of all and that is because of its thickness. It prevents animals from wandering by means of the world, in addition to blocking waterways which might trigger main issues over time ( Wikipedia, 2020). The Mexican palo verde will not be endangered and may be very profitable on this surroundings. This plant can thrive in virtually any surroundings which works in its favor so it could possibly adapt to any surroundings it lives in.

Parkinsonia aculeata 4

Phacelia crenulata[edit]

Also called scorpion-weed and heliotrope phacelia. It’s native within the Colorado and Baja California areas. It grows as much as 80 cm tall and the leaves are 2 to 12 cm lengthy. When it comes to human interplay, the plant is safe and never endangered.

Phacelia crenulata crenulata

Salix exigua[edit]

Coyote Willows are thought of endangered[citation needed], however are native to North America. Their branches have been used as versatile poles and lots of Native Individuals used to make use of them years in the past. They had been particularly used for constructing huts and various kinds of shelters. The flowers that blossom from these crops enable for bees to pollenate, however solely the male crops present this characteristic. This plant can attain 4-7 meters (13-23ft). The leaves are very slim develop to about 4-12cm (1.6-4.7in) lengthy and 2-10mil (0.079-0.394in). They’re very inexperienced and with silky white hairs when they’re starting to develop.

2016.05.28 13.08.36 DSC04510 - Flickr - andrey zharkikh

Stenocereus thurberi[edit]

The Organ Pipe Cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) is important to our ecosystem. This plant can also be generally known as the Organ Pipe Cactus on account of its resemblance to a pipe organ. This plant comes from the dominion Plantae, Phylum Anthophyta, the category is the Dicotyledoneae, Order Caryophyllales, Household of the Cactaceae, Genus Stenocereus, and the species is Stenocereus thurberi. The Organ Pipe Cactus is named “candy pitaya or the candy cactus fruit. It helps retailer water to assist defend itself towards the warmth and the desert droughts (Wikipedia, 2019). Additionally they provide proteins and a few oils to the soil. People are having a continuing impression on many alternative species, particularly these crops. The event of the border wall is affecting the habitat and inhabitants of manyspecies. The wall will take over a number of the lands that the organ pipe cactus covers. The Organ Pipe Cactus Nationwide Monument helps defend the organ pipe cactus to flourish in perfect circumstances.


Geology and Local weather[edit]

Local weather Adjustments[edit]

With the droughts which can be affecting this area, it is impacting the inhabitants of many animal species. Chris McCreddy, Charles van Ripper III, Todd Esque, and Abigail Darrah point out that the menace that this drought is having on the bid inhabitants is being underestimated (McCreedy, 2015). The common variety of birds that do their nesting on this refuge has decreased through the years. With the frequent research that Chris McCreddy, Charles van Ripper III, Todd Esque, and Abigail Darrah have been doing; they recommend that that the droughts will trigger these nesting decreases to happen extra often. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states that “local weather change poses one of many best conservation threats of the 21st century” (System, 2020). This text mentions that with the seawater rising, it is having an impact on the species that encompass that space. Together with different environmental adjustments like wildfires, water shortages, and invasive species, it is inflicting hurt to locations like Kofa Nationwide Wildlife Refuge. Local weather change is having a continuing impact on many areas within the Decrease Colorado River, and people usually are not serving to.


Cultural use of Minerals[edit]

The Decrease Colorado Area is house to many mines throughout a number of cities and cities. For instance, Yuma Arizona is house to 156 lively mines and 6,357 closed mines, and the first commodities are gold, silver and copper.Lake Havasu Metropolis is smaller compared to the Yuma space, due to this fact they solely have about 100 lively mines. Additionally, in Lake Havasu Metropolis, rockhounding (interest of accumulating rocks and minerals from their pure surroundings) is a extremely popular exercise as the world holds many alternative rocks and minerals. Rockhounding can also be accomplished in Yuma, nevertheless it isn’t as standard of an exercise as it’s in Lake Havasu Metropolis.

Old Yuma Mine Tucson Mountains Arizona Circa 1920


Geology offers with continents that break “aside, collide and re-form or slide beneath each other, with rivers and oceans that seem and disappear, with mountain ranges whose battered remnants have been carried away and now lie buried on another continent.” Through the Cretaceous interval, which was about 100 million years in the past, a part of western North America was nonetheless related to the Pacific Ocean. About 20-30 million years in the past volcanic exercise led to the “Mid-Tertiary ignimbrite flare-up that created smaller formations, such because the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona and left a big quantity of volcanic ash and particles.” The Basin and Vary began about 20 million years in the past and Sierra Nevada started forming about 10 million years in the past that induced the Colorado to stream south in direction of the Gulf. Because the Colorado Plateau continued to rise round 2.5-5 million years in the past the river would keep its course nonetheless. Within the final 1 million years the Salton Sink fashioned and reached 260 toes beneath sea degree. After about 50 tears the lake evaporated the Colorado continued to stream to the gulf which left the decrease Colorado River area.

Colorado River from Moab Rim (26837176242)

Life Zones[edit]

The Decrease Colorado River area has a flowers that spans six major life zones. Yuma is the bottom level at 70 toes and the best space is round 12,670 toes close to Flagstaff. The Decrease Sonoran life zone is situated at round 4,500 toes and the crops on this zone can survive scorching temperatures and little precipitation. The Decrease Sonoran life zone is the place most of us reside and is correlated with the new desert solar of the southwest. Creosote, jojoba, mesquite, paloverde, bursar, and cacti can all be discovered right here. The common quantity of rain in these areas is about 10 inches or much less. When spring time comes, relying on how a lot rain the area has had, there might be an honest quantity of flowers blossoming. Numerous crops can reside for years, however these that may not are known as ephemerals. Ephemeral means “brief period” since all these crops hardly ever make it by means of a complete spring season. There are 5 different major life zones in Arizona and they’re: the Higher Sonoran, Transition, Canadian, Hudsonian, and Alpine.

Annotation 2020-04-03 133601
e in Yuma, nevertheless it isn’t as standard of an exercise as it’s in Lake Havasu Metropolis.

Bodily Geology[edit]

The decrease Colorado area is taken into account to be one in all 21 main geographic areas or areas which have efficiently been in a position to divide and sub-divide the U.S. into smaller hydrologic items. These areas both comprise both the drainage space of a significant river or the mixed drainage areas of a number of rivers. This area contains the drainage inside the U.S. of the Colorado Basin beneath the Lee Ferry, streams that originate inside the U.S. and in the end discharge into the Gulf of California, and the Animas Valley, Willcox Playa, and amongst others. It’s included in elements of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. As well as, it’s the approximate measurement of 140,146 sq. miles and has eight subregions.

Gulf of California

Water and Land Use[edit]

Agriculture in Yuma[edit]

Yuma is named the lettuce capital of the US for a motive. It produces a lot of the winter lettuce used throughout the US. Not too long ago, Yuma gained fame on account of the truth that lettuce with e coli was traced again to right here. However what makes Yuma the lettuce capital of the world? Why is that this city the #1 producer? That’s as a result of Yuma has wealthy soil due to the Colorado River which permits many farmers to develop a ton of lettuce.

Cibola Nationwide Wildlife Refuge[edit]

People are utilizing the sources that the Cibola Refuge has to supply. In keeping with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, people go wildlife watching, on nature trails, fishing, and searching (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 2019). This refuge takes benefit of the water sources that encompass the park to help in sustaining the land. The refuge makes use of the quantity of land for farming. In keeping with the Decrease Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program, the water from the Colorado River is reserved for the Cibola Nationwide Wildlife Refuge (Decrease Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program, 2004). This text additionally mentions that the “diversion of the Colorado River water rights, together with floor flows and pumping for the Havasu, Cibola, Imperial, and Invoice Williams River Nationwide Wildlife Refuges.” Colton Gavin states that the enlargement of the property on this refuge may gain advantage the “migratory chicken and different wildlife” (Gavin, 2014). With the rise in land measurement, it will make more room for the habitats of these completely different species. Colton Gavin additionally mentions that the birds which can be migrating to this space want extra land. It is important to guard the land and the water that surrounds this refuge as a result of it is not solely going to profit the farming of the land however the species that reside in that space.

Cibola national W.R

Parker Dam[edit]

The Parker Dam is situated north of Yuma and on the border of Arizona and California. This dam is also called the ‘deepest dam on this planet.’It was constructed completely out of concrete and about 85 toes of the dam is definitely seen. The Parker Dam’s capability is roughly 646,200 acre toes and Lake Havasu is behind the dam. Lake Havasu goes for about 45 miles behind the dam itself and might cowl about 32 sq. miles. There’s a pumping plant for the dam about 2 miles upstream from the beginning of the dam. The plant is known as, The Metropolitan Water District’s W.P. Whitsett Pumping Plant for the Colorado River. The water that’s divided from this plant is distributed to completely different states. Arizona, California, and even Nevada are all beneficiaries of the Parker Dam. The dam can also be an attraction for folks of all ages and has change into extremely popular to journey over. It actually impacts the present of the Colorado River as a complete and ensures it will not cease flowing.

Parker Dam1

Puerto Penasco[edit]

Many individuals throughout america go to Puerto Penasco and in doing so many alternative eating places, motels, motels, RV amenities, market locations and houses have coated the land (Wikipedia, 2020). With such a excessive demand in tourism a lot of the land is used to assist carry extra folks round. For instance, there are seashore homes that promote at ridiculous costs, areas the place vacationers can drive by means of completely different landscapes to see the place historical volcanoes erupted and the lava solidified. The water within the space comes from wells and varied aquifers and is then purified for consuming. The one factor that makes folks hesitate to drink the water is the style of the water and that’s as a result of excessive mineral content material (Huerita, 2009). Authorities officers are additionally wanting into making the Puerto Penasco Desalination Facility that would probably assist get extra water out into the neighborhood when wanted and sooner or later have the ability to share water with the U.S.. The water that might be used will come from the Sea of Cortez, which over time could cause critical points (Tempo, 2020).

View from our condo at twilight]

Mule Deer Trailhead[edit]

The mule deer trailhead is a 9.6-mile loop path that’s situated close to Golden Colorado by which options lovely wildflowers with being rated as being reasonable. The path is normally used for climbing, path operating, tenting, and nature journeys. The most effective time to go to the mule deer trailhead is from Might till October. Additionally, canines are additionally ready to make use of the path, however they must be stored on a leash always. Moreover, the path is a one loop possibility by means of as mentioned earlier the Golden Colorado with the anticipated number of terrain from rocky single-track by means of denser pine forest to clean trails winding by means of alpine meadows. When going by means of the path you’ll first begin on the Ole Barn Knoll after which climb as much as Panorama Level the place you’ll expertise step by step steepening terrain alongside wider paths. As soon as you might be previous Panorama Level you’ll then be in dense pines and can ultimately make your method again down by means of some meadows.

Oregon Badlands Wilderness -- Ancient Juniper Trail (26840407285)

Diamond Creek[edit]

Diamond Creek serves as a intermitted stream that goes by means of the Hualapai tribal reservation northern from the Peach Springs in Arizona to the Colorado River. It’s graded into the river canyon adjoining to and inside the streambed of the Creek itself. Extra so, the highway hooked up to it solely offers vehicular entry to the Colorado River between the Lee’s Ferry upriver and Pierce Ferry downriver. Such a entry makes the creek a well-liked location for white water rafting journeys to take by means of the Grand Canyon in addition to launching from the identical location and continuing downriver to Lake Mead.

Diamond Creek 2017 002

Lake Bastrop North Shore Park[edit]

Lake Bastrop serves as a reservoir within the space of Spicer Creek inside the Colorado River Basin northeast of the city of Bastrop itself with it being within the central of Texas in Bastrop County. The lake was fashioned first in 1964 as a result of creation of a dam by the Decrease Colorado River Authority. Extra so, the lake additionally serves as a spot for outside recreation reminiscent of fishing, boating, swimming, tenting, and picnicking. Altogether, this reservoir is maintained at a relentless yearly.

Lake bastrop north shore

Alternatives and Threats[edit]


Some menace affecting this space is the stream of the canal water. If this water utterly stops flowing, then it can additionally have an effect on the degrees of the groundwater. Because the drought has change into a concurring drawback, it’s affecting the water sources on this area. The farmers must dig deeper to get groundwater. The deeper the dig for this water, the saltier the water will get, and the fee will increase. Haley mentions that “thirty % of what flows by means of open canals from the wells to the fields right here both evaporates or soaks into the bottom” (Nolde, 2020). The calls for for water have change into extra pressing because the yr’s move. Sandra Dibble mentions that water managers are attempting to create new water sources that may present to cities in Baja California (Dibble, 2015). An answer to this drawback is to construct extra underground pipes. These pipes can assist preserve extra water for farmers to make use of to irrigate their land. It is necessary to attempt to protect the water throughout this drought. In Sandra’s article, she quotes Gasper, he states “For us, the river signifies life, sustenance of our households, sustenance of our cities” (Dibble, 2015).

Mexicali drought

Land Threats[edit]

The Colorado River has lots of main threats that trigger it to be thought of probably the most endangered river within the U.S. Wildfires are an enormous menace to this area and has destroyed a number of habitats alongside the best way. The fires appear to favor salt cedar over cottonwood or willow and this makes the Decrease Colorado River area, an ideal place for a wildfire to ignite. The excessive water flows that happen alongside the river do not assist as a result of drought within the lands surrounding it. The habitats that encompass the river are additionally essential as a result of most of them have been overgrown by the salt cedar. This has induced environmentalists to think about revegetation of the land there. The quantity of flooding may probably change the curvature of the land and would alter the environments by which crops and animals thrive in. Air pollution and contamination of the land has actually affected the river and ecosystems. The thought of clearing the lands close to the river are a possible menace and will trigger main hurt, in the event that they resolve to take action. Some alternatives to vary the truth that the river is on the endangered listing, could be to cease polluting. Additionally, the wildfires that happen within the land could be prevented if folks cease making fires close to brush or different crops. Synthetic wildfires have change into a significant problem and is likely one of the issues we as people want to regulate extra. The vegetation that grows there could be managed so it would not change into invasive or kill off different crops.

Arizona Bushfire Pyrocumulus

Water Threats[edit]

For a while the Salton Sea was a well-liked place however over time folks stopped visiting. This was as a result of agricultural runoff, air pollution and the rising salinity of the water. With all these various things occurring the fish within the water started to die off and other people weren’t focused on smelling decaying fish. There additionally was decaying fish washing up on the seashore and it will sit there for days on finish (Wikipedia, 2020). Now individuals who go go to the Salton Sea go and discover the deserted areas across the water. This as soon as lovely place is now a “useless” place. The menace was people making the most of the chance that was right here. Trash was dumped into the ocean and now we are able to solely hope that over time the Colorado River can assist enhance the world earlier than it turns into dried up (Wikipedia, 2020).

Salton Sea Tilapia

Animal Threats[edit]

One species that’s endangered is the inexperienced turtle with its species being aside of the Chelonia Mydas. The dorsal space of the shell or carapace could be inexperienced, brown, rusty reddish brown, or a lightweight brown. Additionally they have markings reminiscent of spots, streaks, or mottling that are frequent particularly with older ones. The underside of the shell or plastron is often a whitish or yellowish (Bioweb, 2020). They usually can transfer throughout three habitat varieties relying on their life stage in addition to lay their eggs on the seashore. Mature ones spend most of their time in shallow, coastal waters with lush seagrass meadows. Whole generations usually migrate between one pair of feeding and nesting areas. The Chelonia Mydas is assessed as a n aquatic species and are distrusted across the globe in heat tropical to subtropical waters. The environmental parameter that limits the distribution of the turtles is ocean temperatures beneath 7 to 10 levels. They usually keep close to continental and island coastlines by which close to the coastlines they reside inside shallow bays and guarded shore. In areas which can be protected shores and bays their habitats are coral reeds, salt marshes, and nearshore seagrass beds. Fortunately the coral reefs present pink, brown and inexperienced algae for his or her weight loss plan and provides safety from predators and tough storms inside the ocean. As well as, the salt marshes and seagrass beds comprise seaweed and grass vegetation which permits an ample habitat for them. Sadly, the inexperienced turtle has repeatedly been listed within the pink listing with it being thought of a endangered species. Particularly, within the space of my very own area they’re listed as critically endangered. That is due to the human use of their meat and egg which has proven to steadily enhance through the years and continues to take action. Regardless that the ocean turtle has been a religious significance in lots of cultures throughout the globe it has not prevented humankind to eat their eggs or meat. As an illustration, in lots of coastal communities reminiscent of Central America and Asia they’ve been present as a supply of meals. Throughout their nesting season, hunters will comb by means of the seashores at evening searching for nesting females. Usually instances they are going to wait till the feminine has birthed her eggs to kill her after which take the eggs and meat. As well as, many individuals will use different elements of the turtle for merchandise reminiscent of oil, cartilage, pores and skin, and shell.

Green Sea Turtle grazing seagrass

The Chiricahua leopard frog is endangered on account of habitat loss and chytrid fungus, which has led to the species to be virtually completely eradicated from its former habitat.

Chiricahua leopard frog 01

The kanab ambersnail can also be one other endangered species within the Arizona area. Most of the truth that the snail is endangered is because of human interference of their pure habitat.

Kanab Ambersnail


The animals, crops and geology noticed on this Wikibook is only a style for what the Decrease Colorado River Area has to supply. Additionally, whereas our e book touches on the impression that people have on the species on this area, like how Coyote’s are restricted of their vary of journey, the impression impacts the Decrease Colorado Area as a complete. The ecosystem is vastly altered on account of interference of artificial objects and the speedy enlargement of companies and factories. Hopefully, this data permits a better appreciation of the area and a unique standpoint behind the significance of nature, not simply within the Decrease Colorado River, however usually.

Lower Basin of the Colorado River

Group Members:

  1. Nicole Dressler
  2. Olivia Garcia
  3. Patrick Jauregui
  4. Izabeau Wright
  5. Aileen Zavala Ramirez


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  12. Parkinsonia aculeata. (2020, April 30). Retrieved from
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  17. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (2013, Might 20). Local weather Change – Kofa – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved Might 09, 2020, from weather.html
  18. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (2019, October 22). Customer Actions – Cibola – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved Might 2, 2020, from to/visitor_activities.html
  19. Wikipedia. Melanerpes uropygialis (2020, March 17). Retrieved April 28, 2020, from
  20. Wikipedia (2020, April 2).Puerto Peñasco. Retrieved April 24, 2020, fromñasco
  21. Wikipedia (2020, April 24).Salton Sea. Retrieved April 25, 2020, from
  22. Wikipedia. (2019, November 8). Stenocereus thurberi. Retrieved Might 2, 2020, from
  23. Zentner, J. (n.d.). Jaguars. Retrieved April 23, 2020, from

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