In The News

LAREDO MORNING NEWS: Laredo's lost riverside to be restored into habitat for endangered species

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Laredo, TX, August 3, 2016 | comments

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fort Worth District and the City of Laredo broke ground Tuesday on an ecosystem restoration project along the Rio Grande, which will create a habitat for several animals listed on the federal endangered species list.

“We are deploying our great engineering force of highly disciplined people to help Laredo recover this valuable riverside resource they had lost,” said Lt. Col. Clay Morgan, deputy commander of the Fort Worth District.

“Our time-tested partnership will deliver innovative green solutions to the environmental challenges here to create a community showpiece for the city.”

The 77-acre Laredo Riverbend site, located adjacent to Laredo Community College, is in an important migration, foraging and breeding corridor for resident and migratory wildlife in this semi-arid region where water is scarce.

Nonnative plants have spread onto this former sand and gravel mining site, which has also been degraded by stormwater erosion and the proliferation of trails and roads created by recreational users, illegal migration and law enforcement.

Revegetation and improved hydrologic connectivity with ponds on the site will return the habitat to a natural state attractive to the endangered ocelot, Gulf Coast jaguarundi and interior least tern.

Plants for the project are being raised at the Corps’ Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility, a unit of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

Their staff will establish this new plant community; the contractor will build three protected nesting boxes in the middle of two ponds for the least tern and great egret.

The $4 million project is a cost shared with the city under section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, and delivered through the district’s Continuing Authorities Program.

Soft-surface trails and educational signage that will explain the restored riparian wildlife habitat will encourage public access to the site.
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