Nazas River

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The Nazas River is a river located in northern Mexico, in territory of the states of Coahuila and Durango. It is part of the endorheic Bolsón de Mapimí. It is only 560 kilometres (350 mi) long, but irrigates an area of 71,906 km² in the middle of the desert. The Nazas is also nurtured by the San Juan, Ramos, Potreritos, del Oro, Nazas, Santiago, Tepehuanes and Peñón Blanco rivers. The river starts at the Sierra Madre Occidental. Tiahualilo ("The Devil") is an aboriginal title for this stream, and seems not ill fitting to it when one of its mighty torrents is in flow.

River Natural flowing watercourse

A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; examples are "run" in some parts of the United States, "burn" in Scotland and northeast England, and "beck" in northern England. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Coahuila State of Mexico

Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Coahuila de Zaragoza, is one of the 31 states which, along with Mexico City, compose the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico.


It took its name when the Spaniards during the conquest of Mexico saw the original inhabitants of the shore of the river fishing with some artifacts similar to baskets, whose Spanish name is 'nasa', for that reason it was known as the 'river of nazas'.

The river acts as divider between the cities of Gómez Palacio in Durango and Torreón in Coahuila. The city of Torreón is named after a tower that was built in the area by Leonardo Zuloaga's administrator, Pedro Santa Cruz, to observe the water level of the Nazas from afar. [1]

Gómez Palacio, Durango Municipal seat and city in Durango, Mexico

Gómez Palacio is a city and its surrounding municipality in northeastern Durango, Mexico, adjacent to the border of the state of Coahuila. The city is named in honor of former Durango governor, Francisco Gómez Palacio y Bravo.

Torreón Municipal seat in Coahuila, Mexico

Torreón is a city and seat of Torreón Municipality in the Mexican state of Coahuila. As of 2015, the city's population was 679,288. The metropolitan population as of 2015 was 1,497,734, making it the ninth-biggest metropolitan area in the country and the largest metropolitan area in state of Coahuila, as well as one of Mexico's most important economic and industrial centers. The cities of Torreón, Gómez Palacio, Lerdo, Matamoros, Francisco I. Madero, San Pedro, Bermejillo, and Tlahualilo form the area of La Laguna or the Comarca Lagunera, a basin within the Chihuahuan Desert.

The Nazas has served as one of the most important natural resources enabling development in the Laguna Region since the middle of the 19th century.

All of its waters are locked in Francisco Zarco and Lázaro Cardenas dams, both located in Durango, which have significantly reduced the once mighty flow of the river. However, Coahuila gets it annual share by mutual agreement between the state governments. Indeed, on its way, it fills smaller water bodies like the Palmito dam (in Torreón) and the Santiaguillo lagoons. The river ends in the now drained Mayrán Lagoon and the Caimán Lakes in the Tlahualilo region.

The river was an important shooting location for the film The Wild Bunch (1969). In the celebrated scene where a bridge is dynamited, the Nazas stands in for the Rio Grande.

<i>The Wild Bunch</i> 1969 film by Sam Peckinpah

The Wild Bunch is a 1969 American epic Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah, about an aging outlaw gang on the Mexico–United States border trying to adapt to the changing modern world of 1913. The film was controversial because of its graphic violence and its portrayal of crude men attempting to survive by any available means.

Rio Grande River forming part of the US-Mexico border

The Rio Grande is one of the principal rivers in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. The Rio Grande begins in south-central Colorado in the United States and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, it forms part of the Mexico–United States border. According to the International Boundary and Water Commission, its total length was 1,896 miles (3,051 km) in the late 1980s, though course shifts occasionally result in length changes. Depending on how it is measured, the Rio Grande is either the fourth- or fifth-longest river system in North America.

There is an amateur annual kayak competition from Rodeo, Durango to Lerdo, Durango.

Kayak small boat propelled with a double-bladed paddle

A kayak is a small, narrow watercraft which is typically propelled by means of a double-bladed paddle. The word kayak originates from the Greenlandic word qajaq.

Rodeo, Durango Municipal seat and city in Durango, Mexico

Rodeo is a city and seat of the municipality of Rodeo, in the state of Durango, north-western Mexico. As of 2010, the town of Rodeo had a population of 4,666.

Lerdo, Durango Municipal seat and city in Durango, Mexico

Ciudad Lerdo is a small city in the northeastern portion of the Mexican state of Durango. It serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of the same name.


The Nazas watershed contains considerable desertic habitat, outside of the immediate riparian zone. A large variety of flora and fauna populate the Nazas Basin, with a variety of succulent native plants. One of the widespread flora is the Ocotillo. [2] A number of freshwater fishes are found in the Nazas River, including Notropis nazas . [3]

Riparian zone interface between land and a river or stream

A riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream. Riparian is also the proper nomenclature for one of the terrestrial biomes of the Earth. Plant habitats and communities along the river margins and banks are called riparian vegetation, characterized by hydrophilic plants. Riparian zones are important in ecology, environmental resource management, and civil engineering because of their role in soil conservation, their habitat biodiversity, and the influence they have on fauna and aquatic ecosystems, including grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, or even non-vegetative areas. In some regions the terms riparian woodland, riparian forest, riparian buffer zone,riparian corridor and riparian strip are used to characterize a riparian zone. The word riparian is derived from Latin ripa, meaning river bank.

See also


  1. Torreon
  2. C. Michael Hogan. 2009
  3. Seth Eugene Meek. 1904

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