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A river of change—The Rio Grande in the Big Bend region

August 31, 2021

The Big Bend region is located within the heart of the Chihuahan Desert of North America. Within this region, the Rio Grande, referred to as the Rio Bravo in Mexico, is the international border between the United States and Mexico. The area known as the Big Bend is named after the large northerly bend that the river makes before flowing southeast to the Gulf of Mexico. This region is environmentally protected by both countries. Although large binational conservation efforts exist, the physical and ecological characteristics of the river have been substantially altered. Changes in Rio Grande hydrology (the seasonality, magnitude, duration, and variability in streamflow) have resulted in the widespread physical transformation of the river, resulting in the loss of important habitat for native and endangered fish and increased flood risk. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists, in cooperation with many other government agencies, universities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are working to better understand these changes to inform management of the Rio Grande.

Publication Year 2021
Title A river of change—The Rio Grande in the Big Bend region
DOI 10.3133/fs20213036
Authors David Dean
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Fact Sheet
Series Number 2021-3036
Index ID fs20213036
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center