Welcome to the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program
Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program Balancing Resource Use and Conservation
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Yuma East Wetlands

      Located in Northeast Yuma, Arizona

Yuma East Wetlands view up river along the South Channel bankline - Photo by ReclamationYuma East Wetlands north channel riparian and marsh habitat - Photo by ReclamationYuma East Wetlants south channel marsh habitat area - Photo by Reclamation

In 2000, the City of Yuma and the Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation (Quechan Tribe) partnered to evaluate the restoration of a historic wetlands area within the main stem of the Colorado River. Located near downtown Yuma, the site was overrun with non-native plant species, make-shift homeless camps, and prone to trash dumping - presenting numerous public safety concerns. Restoration of the area was viewed as an opportunity to resolve these various issues, beautify the riverfront, and provide habitat for wildlife species. To coordinate fundraising and planning activities, the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area (Heritage), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was formed in 2002. The organization now serves as the lead agency responsible for coordinating day-to-day operation and maintenance of the site.

In total, 380 acres have been restored to create a mosaic of marsh, mesquite, and cottonwood-willow. A Land Use Agreement was finalized and signed in 2013 between the Quechan Tribe, Arizona Game and Fish Commission, City of Yuma, Heritage, and LCR MSCP. This agreement establishes the site as a LCR MSCP Conservation Area for the remainder of the 50-year term of the program and outlines the responsibilities and commitments of the Partners. Through this agreement, the LCR MSCP agreed to support the long-term operation and maintenance of created habitats, and conduct infrequent but substantial capital improvements and adaptive management actions that benefit species covered under the LCR MSCP Habitat Conservation Program (HCP).

A fact sheet for this area can be found here. Technical reports for this conservation area can be found here.

Updated January 7, 2020

The Yuma East Wetlands Conservation Areais within the State of Arizona, in Reach 6 of the LCR MSCP planning area, adjacent to River Mile 31. The site is located within the main stem of the Colorado River, near downtown Yuma, on lands owned by the City of Yuma, Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation, and Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The total project footprint is 380 acres.  Additional information on the restoration, led by the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, can be found at this link.

For specific information on the Conservation Area, please contact Terry Murphy, Restoration Group Manager, at (702) 293-8140 or via email at tmurphy@usbr.gov.


Each Conservation Area targets certain LCR MSCP covered and evaluation species habitats. Below, on the left, is a list of the LCR MSCP species in which habitat will be targeted for creation for this particular conservation area. To the right is a list of LCR MSCP species that, through monitoring, have been found utilizing the conservation area.

Targeted LCR MSCP Species LCR MSCP Species Utilizing Site
Riparian Obligates Riparian Obligates
Arizona Bell's Vireo Arizona Bell's Vireo (transient)
Gila Woodpecker Gila Woodpecker (breeding)
Gilded Flicker Gilded Flicker (transient)
Sonoran Yellow Warbler Sonoran Yellow Warbler (breeding)
Southwestern Willow Flycatcher  
Summer Tanager Summer Tanager (breeding)
Vermilion Flycatcher Vermilion Flycatcher (transient)
Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Yellow-Billed Cuckoo (breeding)
Bats, Small Mammals, and Insects Bats, Small Mammals, and Insects
California Leaf-Nosed Bat (foraging)
Western Red Bat (foraging)
Western Yellow Bat (foraging)
Yuma Hispid Cotton Rat Yuma Hispid Cotton Rat (resident)
Marsh Birds Marsh Birds
California Black Rail  
Western Least Bittern Western Least Bittern (breeding)
Yuma Clapper Rail Yuma Clapper Rail (breeding)
Reptiles Reptiles
Northern Mexican Gartersnake  

The LCR MSCP provided $250,000 per year to fund operations and maintenance of existing habitat in 2010 and 2011.  Operations and maintenance activities included removal of non-native plant species, application of herbicides and fertilizers, re-planting of native plants as required, and maintenance and operation of irrigation systems and access roads.  Wildlife and vegetation monitoring is being conducted by the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area (YCNHA) using protocols and techniques consistent with the LCR MSCP. Upon successful signing of a land use agreement, the LCR MSCP will fund up to 70 percent of the operations and maintenance of restored areas. The YCNHA will remain as the lead agency coordinating the land use agreement and no change in ownership or water usage of any parties is anticipated.

Bird Monitoring

Surveys for covered birds are conducted annually. Marsh bird surveys are conducted in March, April, and May at established points for California black rail, western least bittern, and Yuma clapper rail. During the late spring and summer, presence surveys are conducted for riparian birds to document use of the conservation area for nesting, foraging, and migration. Riparian birds monitored include the listed southwestern willow flycatcher and yellow-billed cuckoo, and the following covered species: Arizona Bell’s vireo, Gila woodpecker, gilded flicker, Sonoran yellow warbler, summer tanager and vermilion flycatcher.

Mammal Monitoring

Small mammal live trapping is conducted annually to monitor presence of Colorado River cotton rats and desert pocket mice at the conservation area. Bat presence is monitored annually from June through August with net captures and remotely recording echolocation calls using a long-term Anabatâ„¢ station as part of systemwide monitoring.

Acreage Map

This map shows the acreage for this area. You can click on the map for a larger view.

Yuma East Wetlands Acreage Map

This gallery includes photos of this conservation area. If you require larger photos, please contact our webmaster Michelle Reilly at mreilly@usbr.gov.