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Rowene's Father Predicted the Colorado River Would Dry Up. He Was Right.
Dear LightHawk Friends,
The earth can't tell its own stories. LightHawk does. We have stories because of our supporters, and we are deeply grateful for their support.
Water Scarcity & Quality
Rowene Aguirre-Medina grew up in both Mexico’s Mexicali Valley and the Imperial Valley of California, where her grandfathers pioneered and settled beginning in 1908. Drawn there originally by the Colorado River and the economic opportunities associated with it, her family has lived near the once mighty river for five generations. “I’m a child of the river,” says Rowene.
The Once Flourishing Delta is Now Parched Land
She remembers a river that flowed and a lush Delta. Her father took her out on the Delta in a small boat to experience the tide’s pull on the river in and out of the sea. He raised her on stories of how the Colorado River used to be. “There was lots of commerce. It was a flourishing Delta when it flowed to the gulf.”
“He told us how for centuries the Cucapa, the native river people, made their living from the river. But my father knew things were going to change. He said ‘I want you to remember this.’ My father understood that there could be a time that the river wouldn’t reach the gulf,” said Rowene.
Her father was right. Those waters now dry up about 50 miles before reaching the gulf. The green banks are dead. The fish and shrimp that fed Rowene’s family are gone. The music of the birds has disappeared. Traveling to the Delta, Rowene commented, “It was heartbreaking to see that cracked earth where there had been lush vegetation, water, birds and native plants.” She knew that the death of the river was devastating not only to her, but her community and the environment.
She joined the board of one of LightHawk’s partner organizations, the Sonoran Institute, who is restoring a portion of the Delta and working to reconnect the river. “Getting involved in the Sonoran Institute is a way for me to give back to this valley, this river that has nourished my family for so long.”
In the delta, the river has been reduced to a trickle for the past 50 years. LightHawk is working alongside the Sonoran Institute and Rowene to rejoin the Colorado River with the Sea of Cortez. In 2014, LightHawk partners witnessed the first full pulse of Colorado River water reach the sea, as our volunteer pilots guided them above this historic reconnection.
Because of our supporters, LightHawk has flown over a hundred missions to help the river thrive.
When asked about her LightHawk flights over the Delta, Rowene said, “You expanded my vision. You gave me the bigger picture, you gave me a birds-eye view of the portion of the restored Delta and you gave me hope that the Colorado River could reach the sea. When you can see it from the air, you know it can happen.”
But there is still so much more to do for the Colorado River, and for all the rivers and lands that LightHawk flies to protect and heal.
We regularly address new threats to environmental health. Destructive development plans constantly pop up. Polluters violate the earth with abandon. But LightHawk is here to shine a light on these problems, and mobilize the right people to foster healing. We can do that because our donors believe in and generously support LightHawk.
Our board is 100% committed to LightHawk as financial supporters. They will match your gift up to $40,000! Please make your gift today.
Environmental crises don’t wait for LightHawk to find funding. The earth can’t tell its stories, or explain the damage being done on its own. The environment relies on LightHawk, and we rely on you. You keep LightHawk flying for conservation. Your generosity allows us to move conservation at the speed of flight.
By making your most generous gift today, you will help us keep freshwater drinkable, maintain open spaces for future generations, protect our coastlines, and repopulate endangered animals.
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Thank you for your belief in LightHawk and your confidence that we will deliver a brighter future for the earth.
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