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Colorado River Project: Average growing season evapotranspiration and vegetation index remote-sensing data for the riparian corridor of the Colorado River Delta in Mexico from 2000-2020

September 23, 2021

These data were compiled for evaluating river-reach level plant water use, or evapotranspiration (ET), and vegetation greenness, or Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), in the riparian corridor of the Colorado River delta as specified under Minute 319 of the 1944 Water Treaty. The seven reach areas from the Northerly International Boundary (NIB) to the end of the delta at the Sea of Cortez were defined for research activities. Also, these seven reaches are being monitored under Minute 323 of the 1944 Water Treaty. Additionally, these data were compiled for evaluating restoration-level evapotranspiration and vegetation greenness data in Reach 2 and Reach 4, as specified under Minute 323 of the 1944 Water Treaty. Objectives of our study were to measure the peak growing season ET and satellite vegetation index data, specifically using the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) from Landsat, for the average of months in summer-fall (May to October) for the seven reaches, for the full riparian corridor, and for four restoration sites, from 2000 through 2020. The evapotranspiration data represent measurements of ET using the enhanced vegetation index (EVI), along with potential ET from meteorological station data in Yuma, Arizona. The vegetation greenness data represent measurements of enhanced vegetation index (EVI) Landsat imagery, and these EVI data were then used as an input for actual evapotranspiration 'ET', along with potential ET from meteorological station data in Yuma, Arizona. These data were collected using Landsat satellite data (30 m resolution) record from 2000 over the delta of the Colorado River starting near Yuma, AZ and continuing another 150km to the Sea of Cortez along the river corridor. These data were collected by Pamela Nagler, Ph.D. of the U.S. Geological Survey-Southwest Biological Science Center, and Armando Barreto-Munoz, Ph.D. and Kamal Didan, Ph.D. of the University of Arizona, Vegetation Index and Phenology Lab. These data can be used to evaluate riparian vegetation community water use and vegetation greeness in the Lower Colorado River delta region where there is active restoration efforts. These ET and NDVI data depict a Landsat time series from three sensors over the 21-year period. The time-series data can be used by land and water managers to monitor spatial and temporal riparian zone trends and changes, document riparian ecosystem health and its water use, and the impact of both drought, fire, land clearing and/or non-native species biocontrol in the riparian corridor of the Lower Colorado River delta. End users of these data are federal, state, tribal partners and NGOs on both sides of the International border.