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The region was sparsely populated by farmers and indigenous people. Its wildlife was little known. And it was in Mexico, invisible to North Americans. Thus, after the Water Treaty of 1944 was signed by the United States and Mexico, the flow of the Colorado River diminished to a trickle in the Mexican delta, transforming the fertile land of green lagoons into a dry wasteland. And nobody seemed to care.


People have begun to care about the Mexican delta of the Colorado River, creating one of the most remarkable environmental stories on the continent. Working with Defenders of Wildlife, an organization dedicated to preserving the delta’s fragile recovery, writer Charles Bergman helps readers witness today’s delta in words and pictures. Whether in search of a rare and endangered bird sifting through the sands of the delta’s badlands for fossils, or visiting a village of the delta’s impoverished Cucupá people, Bergman helps us see the variety and abundance of life in this once-forgotten place.


Red Delta is decidedly not an elegy for a lost environment. In the words of western water rights expert and author Charles Wilkinson, “In this loving, fair-minded, and ultimately uplifting account, Charles Bergman trains our gaze away from the excesses of the past toward the future.” Combining the powerful account of the delta’s restored natural diversity with clear information on the “river of law” that governs water allotments to it. Charles Bergman tells a story of hope and recovery.

Red Delta: Fighting for Life at the End of the Colorado River



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