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Restoring the Colorado River and the Heritage of the Cocopah

Arizona Edition, Host Lou Gum.

The Cocopah are known as the river people for their historic and cultural connection to what is today called the Colorado River.

The Colorado intersects the Cocopah Reservation today at a couple of points, but it is harder to get to the waters than it used to be just a couple of generations ago.

Water management is one challenge – and plenty of talking heads and academics and politicians tackle that aspect of the river – with varying degrees of success.

But pushing back invasive species that crowd out native trees and change the habitat for native animals takes physical effort.

Today we talk to two people taking on the hard work of restoring an environment not simply for the ecological benefits, but because what is replanted and restored connects to tradition and culture for the Cocopah Tribe.

Jennifer Alspach is Director of the Cocopah Tribes Environmental Protection Office and Willadena Thomas is an EPO Technician.

How a cottonwood goes from cutting to tree here!

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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