The Rio Grande is disappearing. Demand for water is growing as snow packs shrink, rain patterns shift and average temperatures rise faster than they ever have in the past 11,000 years.Read more
Salinity levels are rising. Brown pelicans are becoming common. We are getting very close to the Gulf of Mexico.
There are 12.9 miles of Rio Grande left, but we are saving it for Friday so others can join us. We are also hoping the next batch of wind and rain will blow itself out by then.
It should be an interesting paddle.
We have passed the last of the levees and the nature of the river is changing. The banks are 5-feet high instead of 20 and made more of sand than mud. We can see jack-up oil rigs and sand dunes. There are blue crabs scurrying along the bottom of the river and locals are starting to warn us less about alligators and more about sharks. So far we have seen neither.
What we did see today was dozens of gill nets stretched across the river. The gaps of the monofilament nets range from two to five inches.
Judging by the amount of trash in the nets and the film growing on them, it seems some have been set out for months. These nets held decaying fish. Other nets were being actively worked by men using everything from traditional high-bowed skiffs to the shells of jet skis.
We saw one net that stopped near the middle of the river, the official boundary between the United States and Mexico. The rest were anchored to each shore.
We wondered how any fish could survive. Judging by the number of egrets, herons, ospreys and pelicans, there must be a fair number to go around.
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As they travel, Colin and Erich are taking water samples for the following periodic water quality tests. In partnership with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment’s Texas Stream Team Program at Texas State University, the results will be added to a public database it helps maintain for research and monitoring water quality.
While making his way to the Gulf of Mexico, Colin will be periodically activating a device that uses satellite technology to share his current location. Use this map to see where he traveled on this day.
|Check-In||Time of Check-In (CST)||Latitude||Longitude|
To report on and understand the haphazard irrigation system the Rio Grande has become and the changes it is going through, Colin decided the best approach would be to travel the length of the Rio Grande by foot and small boat.
He knew it would give him a unique perspective on a river that few understand. It did require many long days of moving slowly and camping on muddy riverbanks, but Colin likes that sort of thing.
The benefit was it provided access to people who wanted to share their stories and experiences with the Rio Grande. Via Facebook and chance encounters, Colin made instant friends who opened their homes. They provided help from loaning their trucks to their cell phone contact lists to help tell the story of the Rio Grande.
The trip would not have been possible without their help, along with the dedicated assistance of David Lozano, Jason Jones and Daniel Dibona, who drove thousands of miles to get people and boats in place.