University of Wyoming
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Minute By Minute: An Assessment Of The Environmental Flows Program For Restoration Of The Colorado River Delta

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posted on 2021-11-15, 21:19 authored by Madeleine Lewis
This thesis provides an analysis and critique of efforts by the national governments of the United States and Mexico, and efforts by NGOs, to rewater the Colorado River Delta for ecosystem maintenance and restoration. The International Boundary and Water Commission passed Minute 323 in September of 2017 to memorialize the commitments of the United States, Mexico, and a coalition of non-governmental partners to bring life back to the delta. Although it represents the most robust effort undertaken to restore the delta, Minute 323 also reflects inadequate commitments from the United States and Mexico to collaborate for meaningful change in the delta. This thesis analyzes the legal and historical context behind Minute 323 and contributes a critical analysis of its environmental flows program, concluding that a more permanent arrangement is necessary to secure the future of the delta, as well as to reflect modern principles of conservation and equity. An analysis of the 1944 treaty, its Minute system, and international principles of equity demonstrate that a full amendment of the treaty to specifically allocate water for instream environmental flows may be necessary for long-term and effective delta maintenance.



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