Professor of Geosciences, University of Arizona
Phone: (520) 621-7336
Research interests and background
Karl Flessa and his students have been conducting research on the Colorado River delta since 1992. They have documented the effects of upstream water diversions on the fauna of the river’s estuary and estimated flows necessary for their restoration. Flessa directed the NSF-supported Research Coordination Network: Colorado River Delta, the environmental monitoring program for the Ciénega de Santa Clara during the test run of the Yuma Desalting Plant, and is currently the co-Chief Scientist for the Minute 319 Monitoring Program for the Colorado River Delta. He was recently a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at Australia’s CSIRO, where he studied river management in the Murray-Darling Basin. He received his undergraduate degree at Lafayette College and his Ph.D. from Brown University.
Selected Colorado River Publications
Smith, J.A., Auerbach, D.A., Flessa, K.W., Flecker, A.S. and Dietl, G.P. 2016. “Fossil clam shells reveal unintended carbon cycling consequences of Colorado River management.” Royal Society Open Science, September, 2016. http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/3/9/160170
Bark, R.H., Robinson, C.J. and Flessa, K.W., 2016. “Tracking cultural ecosystem services: water chasing the Colorado River restoration pulse flow.” Ecological Economics 127:165-172.
Flessa, K.W., E. Kendy, and K. Schlatter (editors). 2016. Minute 319 Colorado River Limitrophe and Delta Environmental Flows Monitoring. Interim Report. May 19. 78 p.
(Spanish version: http://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/156631/IIMFADRC0516.pdf.)
Bark, R.H., Frisvold, G. and Flessa, K.W., 2014. “The role of economics in transboundary restoration water management in the Colorado River Delta.” Water Resources and Economics 8: 43-56. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212428414000516
Flessa, K.W., E.P. Glenn, O. Hinojosa-Huerta, C.A. de la Parra-Renteria, J. Ramirez-Hernandez, J.C. Schmidt, and F. Zamora-Arroyo. 2013. Flooding the Colorado River Delta: A landscape-scale experiment. EOS 94: 485-486. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EO500001/pdf
Glenn, E.P.,K.W. Flessa, and J. Pitt. 2013. Restoration potential of the aquatic ecosystems of the Colorado River Delta, Mexico (Introduction to special issue on “Wetlands of the Colorado River Delta”). Ecological Engineering 59:1-6. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925857413001754
Cintra-Buenrostro, C.E., K.W. Flessa, and D.L. Dettman. 2012. Restoration flows for the Colorado River estuary, México: estimates from oxygen isotopes in the bivalve mollusk Mulinia coloradoensis (Mactridae: Bivalvia). Wetlands Ecology and Management 20: 313-327. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11273-012-9255-5
López-Hoffman, L., E.D. McGovern, R.G. Varady, and K.W. (editors). 2009. Conservation of
shared environments: Learning from the United States and Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. https://www.amazon.com/Conservation-Shared-Environments-Learning-Environmental/dp/0816528780
Selected Colorado River Presentations and Outreach
Karl Flessa presented “Transboundary environmental flows to the Colorado River Delta: When the past matters and when it doesn't” at the International Conference on Ecological Sciences. Marseille, France; October 26, 2016. https://sfecologie2016.sciencesconf.org/106008
Karl Flessa (and colleagues) presented “Two years after the flow: Hydrologic and ecological effects of the 2014 environmental flow to the Colorado River delta” at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. Denver, CO; Sept 26, 2016. https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2016AM/webprogram/Paper278839.html
Presenter at the Conservation Biology Program, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities: “A brief meeting of the waters: Science and policy of the first environmental flow to the Colorado River Delta.” (February, 2016).