Thinking Citizen Blog — the Rio Grande

Thinking Citizen Blog — Wednesday is Climate Change, the Environment, and Sustainability Day

Today’s Topic — Rivers of the United States VII — the Rio Grande — second longest river in the lower 48 states

At 1759 miles long, the Rio Grande is the second-longest river in the lower 48 states if you count the Mississippi and Missouri rivers together as one system. For 70% of its length (1225 miles) it forms the border between Mexico and the US. This represents about 64% of that border. Originating in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado it flows south then east and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.


1. Forms the border between these Mexican states and Texas: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas.

2. Diversion dams and water consumption by farms and cities result in less than 20% of its discharge reaching the Gulf of Mexico.

3. Cities on its course include Albuquerque, El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, and Nuevo Laredo. It also flows by Pueblo villages — including Sandia Pueblo and Isleta Pueblo.

NB — The river is not navigable (except for small boats) for much of its length. Its largest tributaries are the Rio Conchos (by discharge) and the Pecos (by size of drainage basin). Others include the Rio Salado and the San Juan River. Mexican names for the river include Rio Del Norte (river of the north) and Rio Bravo (as in “rough river”).


1. Mexico claimed that the Nueces River rather than the Rio Grande was the border between Mexico and United States in 1846. This border dispute led to the US invasion.

2. Texas had been a sovereign state from 1836 to 1845, prior to its being annexed by the United States in late 1845, becoming the 28th state.

3. The US invasion divided the country with Northern Whigs and abolitionists opposing it as an expansion of the Slave Power and southern democrats supporting it as part of “Manifest Destiny.”

NB — Many slaves from the US crossed the Rio Grande in search of freedom as Mexico had abolished slavery in 1828.


1. There are 18 border crossings between Texas and Mexico — 16 with Tamaulipas, 1 with Nuevo Leon, 6 with Coahuila, and 12 with Chihuahua.

2. Above is the Eagle Pass Union Pacific Railroad Bridge connecting Eagle Pass, Texas. with Piedras Negras, Coahuila.

3. Because of flooding concerns, there can in places be a gap as wide as a mile between the river and Trump’s wall. This puts thousands of acres in a “no man’s land.” Local landowners complain of the devaluation of their land. “No one wants to buy land between the river and the wall.” (See last link).

Rio Grande

List of crossings of the Rio Grande

Between President Trump’s Border Wall And The Rio Grande Lies A ‘No Man’s Land’


Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to climate change

or the environment.

Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to climate change that the rest of us may have missed. Your favorite chart or table perhaps…

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.



Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.