In August 2010, Alexandra Cousteau’s Expedition Blue Planet crossed over the Arizona/Mexican border to follow the Colorado’s dry riverbed to its historic mouth in the Upper Gulf of California. The Colorado’s rivers once nutrient-rich waters no longer even reach the sea. This short film tracks the ghost of a mighty river that used to run free over this land just half a century ago.
The stately Colorado, that same iconic river of history that carved out the Grand Canyon and made the deserts bloom in the American southwest now ends in a hypersaline mudflat rather than a punctuation mark of aquatic biodiversity. The Colorado’s once-lush estuary is no longer a nursery for marine life. The people whose lives were intertwined with the river’s wealth in its flood plain are now culturally bereft.