Courtesy of Raise the River
Mallane Dressel | Boulder Weekly

Famed actors try to shed light on plight of Colorado River 

Robert Redford and Will Ferrell, accompanied by professional surfer Kelly Slater, supported the Raise the River
organization’s efforts to reconnect the Colorado River with the Gulf of California in a recent promotional clip filled with plenty of banter.

According to Raise the River’s website, its goal is to raise $10 million by 2017. These funds will be put toward planting native trees and purchasing permanent water rights dedicated to the delta. The 6 millionyear-old Colorado River used to cover 2 million acres to flow into the ocean, but is now stopping short by 70 miles due to the growing populations diverting increasing amounts of water over the last 100 years.

The water flow from the Colorado River is essential for the survival of the ecosys tems in those remaining 70 miles of Colorado River delta, the water source necessary for plant growth as well as animal and marine life. According to Raise the River, if this dried-out area received just 1 percent of the river’s annual flow, it would restore 2,300 acres of forest and marsh along the 70-mile stretch.

Although the organization stated in a recent press release that it has already acquired 75 percent of its necessary funds, thanks to Keurig Green Mountain, it’s deadline to obtain the rest is crucial because the Minute 319, a bi-national water-sharing agreement between the U.S. and Mexico for Colorado River water, expires in 2017. The Raise the River organization hopes that the funds raised will help ensure the future restoration of the Colorado River Delta once this agreement expires.

Researchers study effects of increasing carbon dioxide, heat waves on crops 

Maize and soybean crops may experience a significant decrease in crop yield as climate change brings extreme heat waves, while wheat might experience an increase as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, according to researchers from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom.

Extreme temperatures brought on by climate change will be detrimental to crops if these heat waves occur during the flowering stage, found researcher Delphine Deryng, one of the authors of the scholarly article, “Global Crop Yield Response to Extreme Heat Stress Under Multiple Climate Change Futures,” whichappeared in Environmental Research Letters. But the increase of carbon dioxide due to climate change might actually increase crops’ yield because it would boost photosynthesis. Deryng stressed that this concept is controversial because the scientific community is unsure how this increase in yield will affect the quality of the grain. Potentially, the increase in yield could cause the crops to have a lower nutrition value because the carbon and nitrogen ratio would reduce the protein content.

The researchers used this increasing yield concept when calculating how much crop yields in the future would decrease or even increase. Wheat crops could experience a 19 percent gain in yield if the carbon dioxide boost theory is accurate.

According to Deryng, the U.S. national average maize and soybean yields will still decrease by 16 and 10 percent even when factoring in the carbon dioxide growth boost because of the severe impact of the heat waves. If the crops do not have the increase in yield, the researcher expects that these crops could decrease 26 to 41 percent.

“I hope to increase knowledge and understanding of global scale impact of climate change on the agriculture sector,” says Deryng. “Mitigation policy to reduce green house gas emissions could help reduce the risk of extreme weather events and help farmers anticipate impacts and adapt adequately to climate change.”