Death of a river: The Colorado River Delta
Alexandra Cousteau and Expedition Blue Planet follow Colorado's dry riverbed to its historic mouth in the Upper Gulf of California.
In August, Alexandra Cousteau's Expedition Blue Planet crossed over the Arizona/Mexican border to follow the Colorado's dry riverbed to its historic mouth in the Upper Gulf of California where its nutrient-rich waters no longer reach the sea. This short film tracks the ghost of a mighty river that used to run free over this land half a century ago.
The stately Colorado, that same iconic river of history that carved out the Grand Canyon and made the deserts bloom in the American southwest now ends in hypersaline mudflat rather than a punctuation mark of aquatic biodiversity. The Colorado's once-lush estuary is no longer a nursery for marine life. The people whose lives were intertwined with the river's wealth in its flood plain are now culturally bereft.
Alexandra Cousteau experiences something she always knew in the abstract: rivers must reach the sea or else we are all impoverished.
In July 2010, Alexandra Cousteau and her international Expedition Blue Planet team departed on a 14,500-mile journey across North America to investigate global water issues "in the backyard" of one of the world’s leading economies. Living, working and exploring water stories together, Alexandra and her team will use everything from the underwater gear invented by her grandfather to the latest in satellite technology and live social media to bring the thrill of adventure and the wonders of nature to audiences across the globe.