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Community and Conservation: Assessing Public Values Toward the Lower Colorado River and Delta
The Colorado River’s resources are over-allocated to seven states in the U.S. and two in Mexico, with water shortages heightened by fast-growing urban populations and intensified agricultural use on both sides of the border. The critical water problem in the Colorado Delta region affects communities in Arizona, California, Baja California, and Sonora. The Colorado Delta supports significant remnant wetland areas of high biodiversity and important riparian habitats for endangered species, such as the vaquita porpoise, the Yuma clapper rail, the bobcat, and the desert pupfish. As drought, climate change, and policy decisions reduce the water flows in the Colorado River, the Delta’s wetlands are shrinking and deteriorating. These riparian areas are also important to thousands of people living in or near the Delta, who rely upon the riparian resources for ecotourism, hunting and fishing, and family recreation.
This research aimed to assess the perceptions of climate variability and climate change held by institutional stakeholders and local communities across the U.S.-Mexico Delta region and to examine the links between regional riparian wetland areas, water conservation, and drought and climate change, as perceived by local communities and institutions.