The United States and Mexico signed an historic agreement in 2012 to address long-standing issues in the once-magnificent Colorado River Delta. These issues relate to bi-national water management during periods of extended drought as well as the historic loss of freshwater flows.
Among the key provisions of “Minute No. 319”, which operates under the 1944 U.S.-Mexico water treaty, is a five-year commitment by both countries to support the restoration of freshwater flows through the dedication of waters stored in U.S. reservoirs and through acquisition of additional water from willing sellers by the non-profit Colorado River Delta Water Trust in Mexico.
Minute No. 319 establishes innovative procedures for Colorado River management during times of drought and provides for extensive investment in water conservation and efficiency in Mexico. NFWF is currently administering both public and private-sector funds to support collaborative binational efforts to restore riparian habitat and freshwater flows under the Minute No. 319 framework.
With an initial grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, NFWF established the Colorado River Delta Restoration Fund in early 2013 to support habitat restoration projects and related measures under the Minute. Subsequent agreements govern the flow of funds through the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) and its sister agency in Mexico to local conservation groups doing restoration work in the Delta.
NFWF is also taking part in a coordinated NGO campaign to raise at least $10 million over the next four years to support Delta Water Trust acquisitions, habitat restoration projects, scientific studies, and negotiation of a more comprehensive and lasting bi-national restoration agreement by the end of the five-year period.