July 24, 2023

Climate action: The work that’s helping the Colorado River Delta

Submitted by sempra_ian on
More than 260 species are now better protected with help from a partnership between Sempra and the Sonoran Institute

Cristal Galindo Jiménez’s parents once told her stories of the lush lands that surrounded their hometown in the Gulf of California. They described a variety of species that once flocked to the wetlands where water was abundant, plants were opulent and the ecosystem was healthy. But, for Jiménez, the stories of a once-vibrant Colorado River were nothing more than tales of the past.

Cristal Galindo Jiménez, field supervisor for the Sonoran Institute, plants a treeToday, Jiménez is changing the narrative for her hometown and her son. She is the field supervisor for the Sonoran Institute, a nonprofit that has committed to restoring and renewing the Colorado River Delta, which has endured a decades-long megadrought due to climate change. Supported by Sempra through approximately $350,000 in aggregate funding for 2021 and 2022, Jiménez and her colleagues have brought life, water and hope back to the region.

“I am seeing the direct impact we are having on the environment,” said Jiménez, who has worked for the Sonoran Institute since 2014. “The restoration work is conserving an environment for animals such as beavers and bobcats. And with the changes, I can now bring my son to enjoy the habitat that I didn’t have the opportunity to see when I was a child.”

Photo: Cristal Galindo Jiménez, field supervisor for the Sonoran Institute, plants a tree in the nursery

The Sonoran Institute has dedicated two decades of work to the region where more than one million people reside. Their commitment to riparian and estuarine restoration, as well as community education, has been rewarded with positive results. With the support of Sempra and other donors, the Sonoran Institute has:

  • Planted more than 52,000 trees in the last two years, bringing the total number of trees to more than 250,000 in the last 10 years

  • Protected or restored more than 260 species, including maintaining or increasing the diversity and abundance of bird target species and increasing the activity patterns of medium-size mammals like beavers, bobcats, coyotes

  • Protected or restored nearly 600 acres of land

  • Cleaned and restored three miles of riverways

  • Protected the riparian ecosystem, which provides habitat for wildlife species and recreational areas for local residents

  • Reduced more than 2,000 metric tons of carbon emissions

Celedonia Alvarado Camacho, tree planting and propagation supervisor for the Sonoran Institute, plants native trees“The changes are very impactful,” said Celedonia Alvarado Camacho, a tree planting and propagation supervisor for the Sonoran Institute since 2009. “When I started working here, the river was like a desert. I’ve had the opportunity to witness the growth in habitat and the river come back to life. The restoration has not only helped grow the fauna, but it has also improved the quality of life for the communities.”

Photo: Celedonia Alvarado Camacho, tree planting and propagation supervisor for the Sonoran Institute, plants native trees

Rosa María González Gómez, field assistant for the Sonoran Institute since 2015, said the funding does more than just restore the drought-stricken land — it provides a source of income to those who work for the nonprofit.

“The funding has supported our overall well-being,” Gómez said. “Like many other employees, this is my family’s source of income.”

Sempra’s collaboration with the Sonoran Institute is a part of the company’s efforts to advance climate action in North America. In 2022, Sempra’s family of companies protected more than 470,000 acres of land and reduced carbon emissions by 92,000 metric tons through key strategic grants.

“Sempra is committed to doing its part to build a better future for all,” Lisa Larroque Alexander, senior vice president of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer, said. “By working with the Sonoran Institute, we can revive the heart of these communities and help ensure future generations will have the opportunity to experience the grand Colorado River Delta.”

For more information about Sempra’s climate action work, explore the 2022 Corporate Sustainability Report.