Rio Grande

Frae Wikipedia
Lowp tae: navigation, rake
Coordinates: 25°57′22″N 97°8′43″W / 25.95611°N 97.14528°W / 25.95611; -97.14528
Rio Grande
Río Bravo del Norte, Tooh Baʼáadii (Navajo), Kótsoi (Jicarilla Apache)
The Rio Grande in Texas, c. 1899
Kintras Unitit States, Mexico
States Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas
Tributaries
 - left Red River, Rio Hondo, Rio Pueblo de Taos, Embudo River, Santa Fe River, Galisteo Creek, Alamito Creek, Terlingua Creek, Pecos River, Devils River
 - right Conejos River, Rio Chama, Rio Conchos, Rio Salado, Rio Alamo, San Juan River
Source Canby Mountain, Continental Divide
 - location San Juan Mountains, Rio Grande National Forest[1], Colorado, Unitit States
 - elevation 12,000 ft (3,658 m) [2]
 - coordinates 37°47′52″N 107°32′18″W / 37.79778°N 107.53833°W / 37.79778; -107.53833 [3]
Mouth Gulf of Mexico
 - location Cameron Coonty, Texas; Matamoros, Tamaulipas
 - elevation 0 ft (0 m)
 - coordinates 25°57′22″N 97°8′43″W / 25.95611°N 97.14528°W / 25.95611; -97.14528 [3]
Length 1,896 mi (3,051 km) [2]
Basin 182,200 sq mi (471,900 km2) [4]
Discharge for Eagle Pass, Texas/Piedras Negras, Coahuila
 - average 2,403 cu ft/s (68 m3/s) [5]
 - max 964,000 cu ft/s (27,297 m3/s)
 - min 24 cu ft/s (1 m3/s)
Map o the Rio Grande drainage basin

The Rio Grande (/ˈr ˈɡrænd/; Spainyie: Río Bravo del Norte or Río Bravo, [ˈri.o ˈβra.βo]) is a river that flows frae soothwastren Colorado in the Unitit States tae the Gulf o Mexico. Alang the wey it forms pairt o the Mexico-Unitit States border. Accordin tae the International Boundary and Water Commission, its total lenth wis 1,896 miles (3,051 km) in the late 1980s, though course shifts occasionally result in length changes. Dependin on hou it is measured, the Rio Grande is the fowert or fift langest river seestem in North Americae.[2]

The river serves as a natural border atween the U.S. state o Texas an the Mexican states o Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, an Tamaulipas. A vera short stretch o the river serves as the boondar atween the U.S. states o Texas an New Mexico. Syne the mid–20t century, hivy water consumption o ferms an ceeties alang the river haes left anerly 20% o its natural dischairge tae flow tae the Gulf. Near the river's mooth, the hivily irrigatit Rio Grande Valley is a important agricultural region. The Rio Grande is ane o 19 Great Waters recognisit bi the America's Great Waters Coalition.[6]

The Rio Grande's watershed covers 182,200 square miles (472,000 km2).[4] Mony endorheic basins are situatit athin, or adjacent tae, the Rio Grande's basin, an these are sometimes includit in the river basin's total aurie, increasin its size tae aboot 336,000 square miles (870,000 km2).[7]

Geografie[eedit | eedit soorce]

Island athin the Rio Grande frae the North Valley in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Rio Grande rises in the wastren pairt o the Rio Grande National Forest in the U.S. state o Colorado. The river is formit bi the joinin o several streams at the base o Canby Mountain, juist east o the Continental Divide. Frae thare, it flows throu the San Luis Valley, then sooth intae New Mexico, passin throu Española, Albuquerque, an Las Cruces tae El Paso, Texas an Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

Belaw El Paso it serves as pairt o the border atween the Unitit States an Mexico. The offeecial river border measurement ranges frae 889 miles (1,431 km) tae 1,248 miles (2,008 km), dependin on hou the river is measured.[2] A major tributar, the Rio Conchos, enters at Ojinaga, Chihuahua, belaw El Paso, an supplies maist o the watter in the border segment. Ither well-kent tributars include the Pecos an the smawer Devils, which join the Rio Grande on the steid o Amistad Dam. Despite its name an lenth, the Rio Grande is no navigable bi ocean-goin ships, nor dae smawer passenger boats or cargo barges use it as a route. It is barely navigable at aw, except bi smaw boats in a few places.

The Rio Grande rises in heich muntains an flows for hintle o its lenth at heich elevation; El Paso is 3,762 feet (1,147 m) abuin sea level. In New Mexico, the river flows throu the Rio Grande rift frae ane sediment-filled basin tae anither, cuttin canyons atween the basins an supportin a fragile bosque ecosystem on its flood plain. From El Paso eastwaird, the river flows throu desert. Anerly in the sub-tropical lawer Rio Grande Valley is thare extensive irrigatit agricultur. The river ends in a smaw sandy delta at the Gulf o Mexico. Durin portions o 2001 an 2002 the mooth o the Rio Grande was blockit bi a sandbar. In the hairst o 2003 the sandbar wis cleared bi heich river flows o aboot 7,063 cubic feet per second (200 m3/s).[5]

Millions o years ago, durin the Miocene, the Rio Grande endit at the soothren end o the Rio Grande rift in Loch Cabeza de Vaca. Aboot ane million years ago (mya), the stream wis "captured" an began tae flow east.[8]

Navigation[eedit | eedit soorce]

Navigation wis active durin hintle o the 19t century,[9] wi over 200 different steamboats operatin atween the river's mooth close tae Brownsville, an Rio Grande Ceety, Texas. Mony steamboats frae the Ohio an Mississippi rivers wur requisitioned bi the US Govrenment an muived tae the Rio Grande durin the Mexican War in 1846. They providit transport for the U.S. Airmy, unner General Zachary Taylor tae invade Monterrey, Mexico, via Camargo Municipality, Tamaulipas. Airmy engineers recommendit that wi smaw impruivements the river coud easily be made navigable as far north as El Paso. Those recommendations wur niver actit upon.

The Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge is a lairge swing brdg that dates back tae 1910 an is still in uise the day bi automobiles an railroad trains, connectin Brownsville, Texas wi Matamoros, Tamaulipas. It haes no been opened since the early 1900s however, when the last o the big steamboats disappeared. The brig is nou operatit bi the Brownsville and Matamoros Bridge Company, a joint ventur atween the Mexican govrenment an the Union Pacific Railroad.

At the mooth o the Rio Grande, on the Mexican side, wis the lairge commercial port o Bagdad. Durin the American Ceevil War, this wis the anerly legitimate port o the Confederacy. European warships anchored affshore tae maintain the port's neutrality, an managit tae dae so successfully throuoot that conflict, despite occasional stare douns wi blockadin ships frae the US Navy. It wis a shallae draft river port, wi several smawer vessels that hauled cargo tae an frae the deeper draft cargo ships anchored aff shore. These deeper draft ships coud no cross the shallae sandbar at the mooth o the river. The port's commerce wis European militar supplies, in exchynge for bales o cotton.

History[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Upper Rio Grande near Creede, Colorado.
Railway Bridges an the Great Customs Smelter (postcaird, circa 1916)

In the 1800s, the river markit the disputit border atween Mexico an the nascent Republic o Texas; Mexico markit the border at the Nueces River. The disagreement providit pairt o the rationale for the US invasion o Mexico in 1846, efter Texas haed been admittit as a new state. Syne 1848, the Rio Grande haes markit the boondar atween Mexico an the Unitit States frae the twin ceeties o El Paso, Texas, an Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, tae the Gulf o Mexico. As such, crossin the river wis the escape route uised bi some Texas slaves tae seek freedom. Mexico haed leeberal colonization policies an haed abolished slavery in 1828.[10]

In 1944 the US an Mexico signed a treaty regardin the river,[11] an in 1997 the US designated the Rio Grande as ane o the American Heritage Rivers. Twa portions o the Rio Grande are designatit National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, ane in northren New Mexico an the ither in Texas, at Big Bend National Park.

In the simmer o 2001, a 328-foot (100 m) wide sandbar formit at the mooth o the river, markin the first time in recordit history that the Rio Grande failed tae empty intae the Gulf o Mexico. The sandbar wis subsequently dredgit, but it re-formit amaist immediately. Spring rains the follaein year flushed the re-formed sandbar out to sea, but it returned in the summer o 2002. As o the faw o 2003, the river ance again reaches the Gulf.[5]

River modifications[eedit | eedit soorce]

View o the Rio Grande frae Overlook Park, White Rock, New Mexico.

The Unitit States an Mexico share the watter o the river unner a series o greements admeenistered bi the International Boundary and Water Commission, US-Mexico. The maist notable o these treaties wur signed in 1906 an 1944.[12][13] The IBWC traces its institutional roots tae 1889, when the International Boundary Committee wis established tae maintain the border. The IBWC the day allocates river watters atween the twa naitions an aw, an provides for flood control an watter sanitation.

Uise o that watter belangin tae the Unitit States is regulatit bi the Rio Grande Compact, an interstate pact atween Colorado, New Mexico, an Texas. The watter o the Rio Grande is ower-appropriatit: that is, thare are mair uisers for the watter than there is water in the river. Acause o baith drocht an oweruise, the section frae El Paso dounstream throu Ojinaga wis recently taggit "The Forgotten River" bi those wishin tae bring attention tae the river's deterioratit condeetion.[14]

Rio Grande in west El Paso near New Mexico

Thare are a nummer o dams on the Rio Grande, includin Rio Grande Dam, Cochiti Dam, Elephant Butte Dam, Caballo Dam, Amistad Dam, Falcon Dam, Anzalduas Dam, an Retamal Dam. In soothren New Mexico an the upper portion o the Texas border segment, the river's discharge dwindles. Diversions, mainly for agricultural irrigation, have increased the natural decrease in flow such that bi the time the river reaches Presidio, Texas, thare is little or nae watter. Below Presidio the Rio Conchos restores the flow o watter.[2] Near Presidio the river's dischairge is frequently zero. Its average dischairge is 178 cubic feet per second (5 m3/s), doun frae 945 cubic feet per second (27 m3/s) at Elephant Butte Dam. Supplementit bi ither tributars the Rio Grande's dischairge increases tae its maximum annual average o 3,504 cubic feet per second (99 m3/s) near Rio Grande City, Texas. Lairge diversions for irrigation belaw Rio Grande City reduce the river's average flow tae 889 cubic feet per second (25 m3/s) at Brownsville an Matamoros.[5]

Crossins[eedit | eedit soorce]

Main airticle: Leet o crossins o the Rio Grande

The major international border crossins alang the river are at Ciudad Juárez an El Paso; Presidio, Texas, an Ojinaga, Chihuahua; Laredo, Texas, an Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas; McAllen, Texas, an Reynosa, Tamaulipas; an Brownsville, Texas, an Matamoros, Tamaulipas. ither notable border touns are the Texas/Coahuila pairins o Del RioCiudad Acuña an Eagle PassPiedras Negras.

Names an pronunciation[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Rio Grande (Rio del Norte) as mappit in 1718 bi Guillaume de L'Isle.

Río Grande is Spainyie for "Big River" an Río Grande del Norte means "Great River o the North". In Inglis an Scots, Rio Grande is pronooncit either /ˈr ˈɡrænd/ or /ˈr ˈɡrɑːnd/. Acause río means "river" in Spainyie, the phrase Rio Grande River is redundant.

In Mexico it is kent as Río Bravo or Río Bravo del Norte, bravo meanin (amang ither things) "furious" or "agitatit".

Historically, the Pueblo an Navajo fowks haed names for the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo an aw:

  • mets'ichi chena, Keresan, "Big River"
  • posoge, Tewa, "Big River"
  • paslápaane, Tiwa, "Big River"
  • hañapakwa, Towa, "Great Watters"

The four Pueblo names likely predatit the Spainyie entrada bi several centuries.[15]

  • Tó Baʼáadi, Navajo, "Female River" (the direction sooth is female in Navajo cosmology)[16]

Rio del Norte wis maist commonly uised for the upper Rio Grande (roughly, athin the present-day borders o New Mexico) frae Spainyie colonial times tae the end o the Mexican period in the mid-19t century. This uise wis first documentit bi the Spainyie in 1582. Early American settlers in sooth Texas began tae uise the modren 'Inglis' name Rio Grande. Bi the late 19t century, in the Unitit States, the name Rio Grande haed become staundart in bein appleed tae the entire river, frae Colorado tae the sea.[15]

Bi 1602, Río Bravo haed become the staundart Spainyie name for the lawer river, belaw its confluence wi the Rio Conchos.[15]

Tributars[eedit | eedit soorce]

Main airticle: Leet o tributars o the Rio Grande

The lairgest tributar o the Rio Grande bi discharge is the Rio Conchos, which contributes amaist twice as hintle watter as ony ither. In terms o drainage basin size the Pecos River is the lairgest.

Tributary Average discharge Drainage basin
cu ft/s m3/s sq mi km2
San Juan River 368 10[5] 12,950 33,500[5]
Rio Alamo 130 3.68[5] 1,675 4,340[5]
Rio Salado 354 10.0[5] 23,323 60,400 [5]
Rio San Rodrigo 130 3.68[5] 1,050 2,720[5]
Devils River 362 10.3[5] 137 355[17]
Pecos River 265 7.50[5] 44,402 115,000[18]
Rio Conchos 848 24.0[5] 26,400 68,400[19]
Rio Puerco 39.5 1.1[20] 7,350 19,000[20]
Jemez River 59.5 1.68[21] 1,038 2,688[21]
Santa Fe River 10.9 0.31[22] 231 598.3[22]
Rio Chama 571 16.2[23] 3,144 8,143[23]
Conejos River 176 4.98[24] 887 2,297[24]

See an aw[eedit | eedit soorce]

Notes[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. Rio Grande frae the Handbeuk o Texas Online
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Metz, Leon C. "Rio Grande". The Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 U.S. Geological Survey Geografic Names Information Seestem: Rio Grande
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Rio Grande NASQAN Program". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 "Water Bulletin Number 75: Flow of the Rio Grande and Related Data; From Elephant Butte Dam, New Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico". International Boundary and Water Commission. 2005. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  6. National Wildlife Federation (August 18, 2010). "America's Great Waters Coalition". Retrieved 2011-18-20. 
  7. Benke, Arthur C.; Colbert E. Cushing (2005). Rivers of North America. Academic Press. pp. 186–192. ISBN 978-0-12-088253-3. 
  8. The Chihuahuan Desert Through Time
  9. Tom Lea (1957) The King Ranch writes that Richard King made his fortune as a riverman on the Rio Grande afore he proposed marriage tae Henrietta an stairtit his cattle ranch.
  10. "The UGRR on the Rio Grande"
  11. "Bibliography on Water Resources and International Law: Rio Grande". Peace Palace Library. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  12. IBWC: Treaties Between the U.S. and Mexico
  13. Thompson, Olivia N., "Binational Water Management: Perspectives of Local Texas Officials in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region" (2009). Applied Research Projects. Texas State University. Paper 313.[specify]
  14. "Rio Grande Sucked Dry for Irrigation, Industry", CNN Saturday Morning News, (Aired June 9, 2001)]
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Source for historical names: Carroll L. Riley, 1995, Rio del Norte, University of Utah Press. ISBN 0-87480-496-5
  16. For the spelling of Navajo terms: Young, Robert W & William Morgan, Sr. The Navajo Language. A Grammar and Colloquial Dictionary. University of New Mexico Press. Albuquerque, NM: 1987.
  17. "Devils River Protection Campaign, Devils River Conservation Easements". The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
  18. Largest Rivers of the United States, USGS
  19. "The Rio Conchos: An Essential Ribbon of Life". Environmental Defense Fund. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Water resources data for the United States, Water Year 2009; gage 08353000 Rio Puerco near Barnardo, NM". USGS. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Water resources data for the United States, Water Year 2009; gage 08329000, Jemez River below Jemez Canyon Dam, NM". USGS. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Water resources data for the United States, Water Year 2009; gage 08317200 Santa Fe River above Cochiti Lake, NM". USGS. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Water resources data for the United States, Water Year 2009; gage 08290000, Rio Chama near Chamita, NM". USGS. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Water resources data for the United States, Water Year 2009; gage 08249000, Conejos River near Lasauses, CO". USGS. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Coker, Caleb (1992). The News from Brownsville: Helen Chapman's Letters from the Texas Military Frontier, 1848-1852. Austin, Tex: Texas State Historical Association. ISBN 0-87611-115-0. 
  • Horgan, Paul (1991). Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History (4th ed.). Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0-8195-6251-3. 
  • Kearney, Milo; Anthony K. Knopp (1995). Boom and Bust: The Historical Cycles of Matamoros and Brownsville. Austin, Tex: Eakin Press. ISBN 978-0-89015-815-9. 
  • Kelley, Pat (1986). River of Lost Dreams: Navigation on the Rio Grande. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-2712-5. 
  • Lea, Tom (1957). The King Ranch. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-51745-4. 

Freemit airtins[eedit | eedit soorce]