Rio Grande No Longer

Rio Grande No Longer?, Dan Oko,
The Austin Chronicle
Winding its way along the Texas-Mexico border, the lower Rio Grande
is an essential source of life and livelihood for humans and
animals lining its shores. And as Dan Oko reports in the
Austin Chronicle, a network of environmental groups
is working to preserve what is fast becoming a highly endangered
river. But conservation is no easy task. A decade-long drought has
farmers and ranchers calling for more water to be distributed,
while commercial fishermen also stake their claim for access to the
river, further taxing the area’s unique ecosystem. Not only are the
development and water shortage problems endangering the
environment, but they put at risk one of the area’s greatest
economic interests — the need to draw birdwatchers and
‘eco-tourists’ to the valley. Mix in the Border Patrol, which
regularly mows the brush along the river and shines lights on the
dense vegetation, and you’ve got a river in danger. All of these
competing interests are being considered by regional planning
groups under the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission,
but environmental activists fear it all may be too little, too
–Lila Kitaeff
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