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Images: Colorado River Connects With Sea

History is made

Colorado River pulse flow

(Image credit: Francisco Zamora, Sonoran Institute, with aerial support from LightHawk.)

For the first time in decades, freshwater from the Colorado River has flowed into the Gulf of California. The water comes from an international agreement to restore habitat for the plants and animals that once thrived in the river's delta. Here are amazing aerial photos of the artificial flood reaching the Gulf.

Salt-baked

Colorado River salt channels

(Image credit: Francisco Zamora, Sonoran Institute, with aerial support from LightHawk.)

An incoming high tide carved channels through salty mud before connecting with the Colorado River.

Branching out

Colorado River branching salt channels

(Image credit: Francisco Zamora, Sonoran Institute, with aerial support from LightHawk.)

Branching channels form as the high tide flows north toward incoming Colorado River.

Blocking the way

Colorado River pulse flow

(Image credit: Francisco Zamora, Sonoran Institute, with aerial support from LightHawk.)

A sandbar blocked the river's route to the sea for several days. The Colorado River is on the right side of the photograph.

Colorado River sea link

(Image credit: Francisco Zamora, Sonoran Institute, with aerial support from LightHawk.)

High tides on May 15 surged through an artificial channel in a sandbar, forging a link between the river and the Sea of Cortez, according to scientists monitoring the flood.

Delta flooding

Colorado River delta flood

(Image credit: Francisco Zamora, Sonoran Institute, with aerial support from LightHawk.)

More freshwater arrived in the Colorado River delta than has been seen here in decades. In this image, the river is flowing from the upper left.

New life

Colorado River tree seedlings

(Image credit: Sonoran Institute)

Cottonwood (left) and willow (right) seedlings have sprouted naturally in restoration sites fed by the Colorado River's artificial flood.