Yuma East Wetlands

A Return to Balance

The Lower Colorado River used to support more than 450,000 acres of native forests and wetlands. The building of dams has made development of the American Southwest possible through a controlled water source and hydro-power. But there has been an environmental cost. By 1986, only an estimated 1,000 acres of native forest remained on the entire lower river.

The Yuma East Wetlands (YEW) is a pioneering restoration project led by a partnership of the Quechan Indian Tribe and City of Yuma. Restoration activities were initiated in 2004. Currently nearly 350 acres have been restored in the Yuma East Wetlands, ranging from riparian habitat to back water channel excavation and wetlands creation.


As the wetlands grow, the bird density and diversity in the area increases. One of the most notable species observed is the endangered Yuma Clapper Rail. The recovering bird community is a telltale sign of the success of this restoration effort.

A majority of the Yuma East Wetlands is owned by the Quechan Indian Tribe and the City of Yuma. In under one year, a partnership joining these stakeholders was formed to restore the 1,400 acres of the Yuma East Wetlands.


Trail Guide Brochure

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Respect Our Restored Natural Setting by Observing These Simple Rules

  • The Yuma East Wetlands is a day-use area only. Open from dawn to dusk.
  • All off-road vehicles are prohibited throughout the wetlands.
  • Stay on trail to avoid damaging vulnerable habitat.
  • No animals or vegetation may be disturbed or removed.
  • No firearms or other weapons allowed: hunting is prohibited.

How You Can Help

The Yuma East Wetlands is still a work in progress. It will take several years to complete the restoration of the entire 1,400 acres along the Lower Colorado River. Throughout the process, the YEW project will continue to organize volunteer planting days, educational workshops and school education. If you are interested in volunteering at the Yuma East Wetlands, please contact the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area at (928) 373-5198.