Raise the River vs. Move the Ocean
Actors Robert Redford and Will Ferrell, along with Professional Surfer Kelly Slater, are lending their creativity and talent to support Raise The River, a campaign designed to help breathe life back into the Colorado River Delta.The campaign aims to raise $10 million by 2017 to restore a 70-mile stretch of river and wetland habitat and to benefit the communities of the long-neglected Delta.Raise The River, working with like-minded partners in the United States and Mexico, is giving the public an opportunity to be part of restoring the Colorado River as the life force of the American West."The Colorado River is an American treasure, one of our great icons, but we've overused it. It hasn't regularly flowed to its natural end since the '60s," says Mr. Redford. "The good news is that there's a solution within our grasp. Both the U.S. and Mexican governments are involved in the effort and with a collective public commitment, we can implement the restoration plan and win this campaign."As part of the marketing initiative behind the campaign, the Redford Center and Sausalito-based Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners created a number of short video spots featuring Mr. Redford, Mr. Ferrell and Mr. Slater to bring awareness to the importance and opportunity of restoring the river's delta. The videos are part of a larger marketing push that includes an integrated social media initiative launching on March 13 on FunnyorDie.com and then premiering in an exclusive broadcast on Participant Media's Pivot TV on March 22, World Water Day.In the videos, Mr. Redford and Mr. Ferrell debate whether it's best to restore the wetlands and the flows for the populations in the Delta region or, alternatively, move the ocean inland "a few hundred miles" to create more coastline for American surfers, which prompts a cameo from Mr. Slater."As someone who has spent my entire life in and near the ocean, I know how important it is to protect it's health and purity," said Mr. Slater. "Part of that is making sure that our rivers and streams are healthy, too. The Colorado River belongs to all of us, and I'm excited to help get the word out about this great cause."Through humorous banter, Redford and Ferrell, bring awareness to the urgency and importance of the issue. Both actors ask viewers to donate via the RaiseTheRiver.org website or the MoveTheOcean.org website, which features a hilarious "5 point plan." Each website will promote donations that ultimately contribute to Raise The River's $10 million goal. Donations from members of the public will help recreate lost habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife, as well as breathe life back into the communities along the riverbank.Meeting this target will ensure the non-governmental community fulfills its commitment to the historic, bi-national, water-sharing agreement known as Minute 319, which was signed by the US and Mexico in November 2012 and expires in 2017. The agreement delivers important benefits on both sides of the border to water users and the river itself.Raise the River will match each country's commitment to provide water for the Delta, and will use water acquired through the Colorado River Delta Water Trust to implement habitat restoration on a larger scale.The six-million-year-old Colorado River is one of the hardest-working rivers on the planet. It supplies water to 40 million people, irrigates four million acres of farmland, and serves as the lifeblood of native tribes, seven National Wildlife Refuges and 11 National Parks. It generates an annual $26 billion recreation economy and employs a quarter of a million Americans. Due to prolonged drought, diversions and dams across the river, and increased water demand from the seven U.S. states through which it flows, the Colorado River dries 70 miles before reaching its delta plain in the Gulf of California.Currently, the Raise the River campaign is 75 percent funded, thanks in part to a generous grant from Keurig Green Mountain to support water rights acquisition and on-the-ground restoration. The coalition behind the campaign is now appealing to the public to help propel the campaign across the finish line.