Río Bravo del Norte, Tooh Baʼáadii(in Navajo), Kótsoi (in Jicarilla Apache)
The Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park,
on the Mexico–U.S. border
Map of the Rio Grande drainage basin
|Country||United States, Mexico|
|State||Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas|
|Source||Canby Mountain, Continental Divide|
|- location||San Juan Mountains, Rio Grande National Forest , Colorado, United States|
|- elevation||12,000 ft (3,700 m)|
|Mouth||Gulf of Mexico|
|Cameron County, Texas; Matamoros, Tamaulipas|
|0 ft (0 m)|
|Length||1,896 mi (3,051 km)|
|Basin size||182,200 sq mi (472,000 km2)|
|- location||Eagle Pass, Texas/Piedras Negras, Coahuila|
|- average||2,403 cu ft/s (68.0 m3/s)|
|- minimum||24 cu ft/s (0.68 m3/s)|
|- maximum||964,000 cu ft/s (27,300 m3/s)|
|- 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, Jemez River, Rio Puerco, Rio Conchos, Rio Salado, Rio Alamo, San Juan River|
The Rio Grande ( /
Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.
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.
The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the Arizona–Nevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.
The river serves as part of the natural border between the U.S. state of Texas and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. A very short stretch of the river serves as part of the boundary between the U.S. states of Texas and New Mexico. Since the mid–20th century, heavy water consumption by farms and cities along with many large diversion dams on the river has left only 20% of its natural discharge to flow to the Gulf. Near the river's mouth, the heavily irrigated lower Rio Grande Valley is an important agricultural region.
A natural border is a border between states or their subdivisions which is concomitant with natural formations such as rivers, mountain ranges. The "doctrine of natural boundaries" developed in Western culture in the 18th century being based upon the "natural" ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and developing concepts of nationalism. The similar concept in China developed earlier from natural zones of control.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.
Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.
The Rio Grande's watershed covers 182,200 square miles (472,000 km2). Many endorheic basins are situated within, or adjacent to, the Rio Grande's basin, and these are sometimes included in the river basin's total area, increasing its size to about 336,000 square miles (870,000 km2).
A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet, such as into a river, bay, or other body of water. The drainage basin includes all the surface water from rain runoff, snowmelt, and nearby streams that run downslope towards the shared outlet, as well as the groundwater underneath the earth's surface. Drainage basins connect into other drainage basins at lower elevations in a hierarchical pattern, with smaller sub-drainage basins, which in turn drain into another common outlet.
An endorheic basin is a limited drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as rivers or oceans, but converges instead into lakes or swamps, permanent or seasonal, that equilibrate through evaporation. Such a basin may also be referred to as a closed or terminal basin or as an internal drainage system or interior drainage basin.
The Rio Grande rises in the western part of the Rio Grande National Forest in the U.S. state of Colorado. The river is formed by the joining of several streams at the base of Canby Mountain in the San Juan Mountains, just east of the Continental Divide. From there, it flows through the San Luis Valley, then south into the Middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico, passing through the Rio Grande Gorge near Taos, then toward Española, and picking up additional water from the San Juan-Chama Diversion Project from the Rio Chama. It then continues on a southerly route through the desert cities of Albuquerque and Las Cruces to El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. In the Albuquerque area, the river flows past a number of historic Pueblo villages, including Sandia Pueblo and Isleta Pueblo. Below El Paso, it serves as part of the border between the United States and Mexico.
Rio Grande National Forest is a 1.86 million-acre (7,530 km²) U.S. National Forest located in southwestern Colorado. The forest encompasses the San Luis Valley, which is the world's largest agricultural alpine valley, as well as one of the world's largest high deserts located around mountains. The Rio Grande river rises in the forest, and the Continental Divide runs along most of its western border. The forest lies in parts of nine counties. In descending order of land area within the forest they are Saguache, Mineral, Conejos, Rio Grande, Hinsdale, San Juan, Alamosa, Archuleta, and Custer counties. Forest headquarters are located in Monte Vista, Colorado. There are local ranger district offices in Del Norte, La Jara, and Saguache.
The San Juan Mountains are a high and rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. The area is highly mineralized and figured in the gold and silver mining industry of early Colorado. Major towns, all old mining camps, include Creede, Lake City, Silverton, Ouray, and Telluride. Large scale mining has ended in the region, although independent prospectors still work claims throughout the range. The last large scale mines were the Sunnyside Mine near Silverton, which operated until late in the 20th century and the Idarado Mine on Red Mountain Pass that closed down in the 1970s. Famous old San Juan mines include the Camp Bird and Smuggler Union mines, both located between Telluride and Ouray.
The Continental Divide is the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas. The Continental Divide extends from the Bering Strait to the Strait of Magellan, and separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean and, along the northernmost reaches of the Divide, those river systems that drain into the Arctic Ocean.
The official river border measurement ranges from 889 miles (1,431 km) to 1,248 miles (2,008 km), depending on how the river is measured. A major tributary, the Rio Conchos, enters at Ojinaga, Chihuahua, below El Paso, and supplies most of the water in the border segment. Other tributaries include the Pecos and the smaller Devils, which join the Rio Grande on the site of Amistad Dam. Despite its name and length, the Rio Grande is not navigable by ocean-going ships, nor do smaller passenger boats or cargo barges use it as a route. It is barely navigable at all, except by small boats in a few places; at its deepest point, the river's depth is 60 feet (18 m).
The Río Conchos is a large river in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It joins the Río Bravo del Norte at the town of Ojinaga, Chihuahua.
Ojinaga Municipality is one of the 67 municipalities of Chihuahua, in northern Mexico. The municipal seat lies at Ojinaga, a rural bordertown on the U.S.-Mexico border. The municipality has an area of 9,500.50 km².
The Pecos River originates in north-central New Mexico and flows into Texas, emptying into the Rio Grande. Its headwaters are on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in Mora County north of Pecos, NM, at an elevation of over 12,000 feet (3,700 m) feet. The river flows for 926 miles (1,490 km) before reaching the Rio Grande near Del Rio. Its drainage basin encompasses about 44,300 square miles (115,000 km2).
The Rio Grande rises in high mountains and flows for much of its length at high elevation; Albuquerque is 5,312 feet (1,619 m), and El Paso 3,762 feet (1,147 m) above sea level. In New Mexico, the river flows through the Rio Grande rift from one sediment-filled basin to another, cutting canyons between the basins and supporting a fragile bosque ecosystem on its flood plain. From El Paso eastward, the river flows through desert. Although irrigated agriculture exists throughout most of its stretch, it is particularly extensive in the subtropical Lower Rio Grande Valley. The river ends in a small, sandy delta at the Gulf of Mexico. During portions of 2001 and 2002, the mouth of the Rio Grande was blocked by a sandbar. In the fall of 2003, the sandbar was cleared by high river flows around 7,063 cubic feet per second (200 m3/s).
Mean sea level (MSL) is an average level of the surface of one or more of Earth's oceans from which heights such as elevation may be measured. MSL is a type of vertical datum – a standardised geodetic datum – that is used, for example, as a chart datum in cartography and marine navigation, or, in aviation, as the standard sea level at which atmospheric pressure is measured to calibrate altitude and, consequently, aircraft flight levels. A common and relatively straightforward mean sea-level standard is the midpoint between a mean low and mean high tide at a particular location.
The Rio Grande rift is a north-trending continental rift zone. It separates the Colorado Plateau in the west from the interior of the North American craton on the east. The rift extends from central Colorado in the north to the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, in the south. The rift zone consists of four basins that have an average width of 50 kilometers. The rift can be observed on location at Rio Grande National Forest, White Sands National Monument, Santa Fe National Forest, and Cibola National Forest, among other locations.
Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of wind, water, or ice or by the force of gravity acting on the particles. For example, sand and silt can be carried in suspension in river water and on reaching the sea bed deposited by sedimentation and if buried, may eventually become sandstone and siltstone.
Navigation was active during much of the 19th century, [ citation needed ] Those recommendations were never acted upon.with over 200 different steamboats operating between the river's mouth close to Brownsville and Rio Grande City, Texas. Many steamboats from the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers were requisitioned by the U.S. government and moved to the Rio Grande during the Mexican–American War in 1846. They provided transport for the U.S. Army, under General Zachary Taylor, to invade Monterrey, Nuevo León, via Camargo Municipality, Tamaulipas. Army engineers recommended that with small improvements, the river could easily be made navigable as far north as El Paso.
The Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge, a large swing bridge, dates back to 1910 and is still in use today by automobiles connecting Brownsville with Matamoros, Tamaulipas. The swing mechanism has not been used since the early 1900s, though, when the last of the big steamboats disappeared. At one point, the bridge also had rail traffic. Railroad trains no longer use this bridge. A new rail bridge (West Rail International Crossing) connecting the U.S. and Mexico was built about 15 miles west of the Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge. It was inaugurated in August 2015. It moved all rail operations out of downtown Brownsville and Matamoros.The West Rail International Crossing is the first new international rail crossing between the U.S. and Mexico in 105 years. The Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge is now operated by the Brownsville and Matamoros Bridge Company, a joint venture between the Mexican government and the Union Pacific Railroad.
At the mouth of the Rio Grande, on the Mexican side, was the large commercial port of Bagdad, Tamaulipas. During the American Civil War, this was the only legitimate port of the Confederacy. European warships anchored offshore to maintain the port's neutrality, and managed to do so successfully throughout that conflict, despite occasional stare-downs with blockading ships from the US Navy. It was a shallow-draft river port, with several smaller vessels that hauled cargo to and from the deeper-draft cargo ships anchored off shore. These deeper-draft ships could not cross the shallow sandbar at the mouth of the river. The port's commerce was European military supplies, in exchange for bales of cotton.
During the late 1830s and early 1840s, the river marked the disputed border between Mexico and the nascent Republic of Texas; Mexico marked the border at the Nueces River. The disagreement provided part of the rationale for the US invasion of Mexico in 1846, after Texas had been admitted as a new state. Since 1848, the Rio Grande has marked the boundary between Mexico and the United States from the twin cities of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, to the Gulf of Mexico. As such, crossing the river was the escape route used by some Texan slaves to seek freedom. Mexico had liberal colonization policies and had abolished slavery in 1828.
In 1899, after a gradual change to the river position, a channel was dug for flood control which moved the river, creating what was called Cordova Island, which became the center of the Chamizal dispute. Resolving the dispute took many years and almost resulted in a 1909 combined assassination attempt on the American and Mexican presidents.
In 1944, the US and Mexico signed a treaty regarding the river,and in 1997, the US designated the Rio Grande as one of the American Heritage Rivers. Two portions of the Rio Grande are designated National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, one in northern New Mexico and the other in Texas, at Big Bend National Park.
In mid-2001, a 328-foot (100 m)-wide sandbar formed at the mouth of the river, marking the first time in recorded history that the Rio Grande failed to empty into the Gulf of Mexico. The sandbar was dredged, but reformed almost immediately. Spring rains the following year flushed the reformed sandbar out to sea, but it returned in mid-2002. By late 2003, the river once again reached the Gulf.
The United States and Mexico share the water of the river under a series of agreements administered by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), US-Mexico. The most notable of these treaties were signed in 1906 and 1944.The IBWC traces its institutional roots to 1889, when the International Boundary Committee was established to maintain the border. The IBWC today also allocates river waters between the two nations, and provides for flood control and water sanitation.
Use of that water belonging to the United States is regulated by the Rio Grande Compact, an interstate pact between Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. The water of the Rio Grande is over-appropriated: that is, more users for the water exist than water in the river. Because of both drought and overuse, the section from El Paso downstream through Ojinaga was recently tagged "The Forgotten River" by those wishing to bring attention to the river's deteriorated condition.
Dams on the Rio Grande include Rio Grande Dam, Cochiti Dam, Elephant Butte Dam, Caballo Dam, Amistad Dam, Falcon Dam, Anzalduas Dam, and Retamal Dam. In southern New Mexico and the upper portion of the Texas border segment, the river's discharge dwindles. Diversions, mainly for agricultural irrigation, have increased the natural decrease in flow such that by the time the river reaches Presidio, little or no water is left. Below Presidio, the Rio Conchos restores the flow of water. 178 cubic feet per second (5 m3/s), down from 945 cubic feet per second (27 m3/s) at Elephant Butte Dam. Supplemented by other tributaries, the Rio Grande's discharge increases to its maximum annual average of 3,504 cubic feet per second (99 m3/s) near Rio Grande City. Large diversions for irrigation below Rio Grande City reduce the river's average flow to 889 cubic feet per second (25 m3/s) at Brownsville and Matamoros.Near Presidio, the river's discharge is frequently zero. Its average discharge is
The major international border crossings along the river are at Ciudad Juárez and El Paso; Presidio and Ojinaga; Laredo and Nuevo Laredo; McAllen and Reynosa; and Brownsville and Matamoros. Other notable border towns are the Texas/Coahuila pairings of Del Rio – Ciudad Acuña and Eagle Pass – Piedras Negras.
Río Grande is Spanish for "Big River" and Río Grande del Norte means "Great River of the North". In English, Rio Grande is pronounced either /
In Mexico, it is known as Río Bravo or Río Bravo del Norte, bravo meaning (among other things) "furious" or "agitated".
Historically, the Pueblo and Navajo peoples also had names for the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo:
The four Pueblo names likely antedated the Spanish entrada by several centuries.
Rio del Norte was most commonly used for the upper Rio Grande (roughly, within the present-day borders of New Mexico) from Spanish colonial times to the end of the Mexican period in the mid-19th century. This use was first documented by the Spanish in 1582. Early American settlers in South Texas began to use the modern 'English' name Rio Grande. By the late 19th century, in the United States, the name Rio Grande had become standard in being applied to the entire river, from Colorado to the sea.
By 1602, Río Bravo had become the standard Spanish name for the lower river, below its confluence with the Rio Conchos.
The largest tributary of the Rio Grande by discharge is the Rio Conchos, which contributes almost twice as much water as any other. In terms of drainage basin size, the Pecos River is the largest.
|Tributary||Average discharge||Drainage basin|
|cu ft/s||m3/s||sq mi||km2|
|San Juan River||368||10||12,950||33,500|
|Rio San Rodrigo||130||3.68||1,050||2,720|
|Santa Fe River||10.9||0.31||231||598.3|
In some places the depth of the river has varied from nearly 60 feet (18 metres) to a bare trickle or nothing.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rio Grande (river) .|
Matamoros, officially known as Heroica Matamoros, is a city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. It is located on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, directly across the border from Brownsville, Texas, in the United States. Matamoros is the second largest city in the state of Tamaulipas. As of 2016, Matamoros had a population of 520,367. In addition, the Matamoros–Brownsville Metropolitan Area has a population of 1,387,985, making it the 4th largest metropolitan area on the Mexico–US border. Matamoros is the 39th largest city in Mexico and anchors the second largest metropolitan area in Tamaulipas.
Gateway Bridge may refer to:
The International Boundary and Water Commission is an international body created by the United States and Mexico in 1889 to apply the rules for determining the location of their international boundary when meandering rivers transferred tracts of land from one bank to the other, as established under the Convention of November 12, 1884.
The Rio Grande has changed course several times in recorded history, leading to a number of border disputes and uncertainties, both international and between individual U.S. states:
The Boundary Treaty of 1970 is a treaty between the United States and Mexico that settled all outstanding boundary disputes and uncertainties related to the Rio Grande border between them.
Amistad Reservoir is a reservoir on the Rio Grande at its confluence with the Devils River 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Del Rio, Texas. The lake is bounded by Val Verde County on the United States side of the international border and by the state of Coahuila on the Mexican side of the border; the American shoreline forms the Amistad National Recreation Area. The reservoir was formed in 1969 by the construction of Amistad Dam. The dam and lake are managed jointly by the governments of the United States and Mexico through the International Boundary and Water Commission. The name of the dam and lake is the Spanish word for "friendship". The reservoir is also known as Lake Amistad.
Bagdad, Tamaulipas, Mexico was a town established in 1848 on the south bank of the mouth of the Río Grande. This town is also known as the Port of Bagdad or the Port of Matamoros, since it is inside the municipality of Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Officially declared non-existent in 1880, it is now invisible, covered by the shifting sands of time.
Río Bravo, formally Ciudad Río Bravo, is a city on the northern border of the state of Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico.
La Linda International Bridge is an international bridge which crosses the Rio Grande on the United States–Mexico border in the Big Bend region of Texas. The southern terminus of Ranch to Market Road 2627 in Heath Canyon, it connects Brewster County with the village of La Linda in Acuña Municipality, Coahuila.
The Bridge of the Americas (BOTA) is a group of international bridges which cross the Rio Grande and Texas State Highway Loop 375, connecting the Mexico–United States border cities of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua and El Paso, Texas, via the MX 45 from the south and the I-110 from the north, crossing the El Paso BOTA Port of Entry. The bridge is colloquially known as "Puente Libre" in Ciudad Juárez, officially as "Puente Internacional Córdova-Las Américas" or "Puente Internacional Córdova de las Américas", and also known as "Puente Río Bravo", "Cordova Bridge" and "Free Bridge".
The Good Neighbor International Bridge, commonly known as the Stanton Street Bridge, is an international bridge connecting the United States-Mexico border cities of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua across the Rio Grande. The bridge is also known as "Friendship Bridge", "Puente Río Bravo" and "Puente Ciudad Juárez-Stanton El Paso". The Good Neighbor International Bridge is a five lane bridge with 3 lanes for south bound traffic and one for Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection northbound traffic. The bridge was completed in 1967 and is 880 feet (270 m) long. The U.S. side of the bridge is owned and operated by the City of El Paso.
The Paso del Norte International Bridge is an international bridge which crosses the Rio Grande connecting the United States-Mexico border cities of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. The bridge is also known as "Paso del Norte Bridge", "Santa Fe Street Bridge", "Puente Benito Juárez", "Puente Paso del Norte" and "Puente Juárez-Santa Fe". The Paso del Norte International Bridge is a four-lane bridge for northbound non-commercial traffic only. The bridge was constructed in 1967. The American side of the bridge is owned and operated by the City of El Paso.
The Rio Grande Project is a United States Bureau of Reclamation irrigation, hydroelectricity, flood control, and interbasin water transfer project serving the upper Rio Grande basin in the southwestern United States. The project irrigates 193,000 acres (780 km2) along the river in the states of New Mexico and Texas. Approximately 60 percent of this land is in New Mexico. Some water is also allotted to Mexico to irrigate some 25,000 acres (100 km2) on the south side of the river. The project was authorized in 1905, but its final features were not implemented until the early 1950s.
Amistad Dam is a major embankment dam across the Rio Grande between Texas, United States, and Coahuila, Mexico. Built to provide irrigation water storage, flood control, and hydropower generation, it is the largest dam along the international boundary reach of the Rio Grande. The dam is over 6 miles (9.7 km) long, lies mostly on the Mexican side of the border, and forms Amistad Reservoir. It supplies water for irrigation in the Rio Grande Valley, 574 miles (924 km) upstream of the Rio Grande's mouth on the Gulf of Mexico at Brownsville, Texas/Matamoros, Tamaulipas.
Matamoros–Brownsville, also known as Brownsville–Matamoros, or simply as the Borderplex, is one of the six bi-national metropolitan areas along the Mexico–United States border. The city of Matamoros is situated in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, while the city of Brownsville is located in the U.S. state of Texas, directly north across the bank of the Rio Grande. The Matamoros–Brownsville is connected by four international bridges. In addition, this transnational conurbation area has a population of 1,136,995, making it the 4th largest metropolitan area in the Mexico-U.S. border.
Reynosa–McAllen, also known as McAllen–Reynosa, or simply as Borderplex, is one of the six bi-national metropolitan areas along the Mexico–U.S border. The city of Reynosa is situated on the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, while the city of McAllen is located in the American state of Texas, directly north across the bank of the Rio Grande. This metropolitan area has a population of roughly 1,500,000, making it the largest and most populous in the state of Tamaulipas, and third most populous in the U.S–Mexico border.
The American Diversion Dam is a diversion dam on the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas. It is about 140 feet (43 m) north of the point where the west bank of the river enters Mexico, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from the business center. The dam is operated by the International Boundary and Water Commission. It started operation in 1938.
The International Diversion Dam is a diversion dam on the Rio Grande in Ciudad Juárez. The dam is operated by the International Boundary and Water Commission, and diverts water into the Acequia Madre for use in irrigation in Mexico. Water is diverted under the terms of the 1906 treaty on usage of Rio Grande water between the United States and Mexico.
The Riverside Diversion Dam was a diversion dam on the Rio Grande to the southeast of El Paso, Texas. The dam was owned by the United States Bureau of Reclamation, and diverted water into the Riverside Canal for use in irrigation in the El Paso Valley. The dam became obsolete with completion of a cement-lined canal carrying water from the upstream American Diversion Dam to the head of the canal. It was partially removed in 2003.