Rep. Cuellar Announces Federal Investment Request for Binational River Park Project
The $2 million federal community project funding was requested through the FY23 appropriations process
Washington | Dana Youngentob, DC Press Secretary (202-340-9148) | Jose Sanz, District Press Secretary (956)-725-0639, May 12, 2022
Laredo, TX – U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced that he requested $2 million in community project funding for the Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC) and the City of Laredo to restore a segment of the Rio Grande River—Laredo’s only source of drinking water—and address key challenges that threaten water security through invasive species management and native species reforestation.
Additional benefits from this federal funding include enhancing water availability, improving line-of-sight for U.S. Customs & Border Protection, protecting riverbank integrity through erosion control, and strengthening natural habitats for critical wildlife species. This program will be part of a larger transformational community initiative known as the Binational River Park Project.
“The Rio Grande River, one of the 10 most endangered rivers in the world, connects communities in Texas with their neighbors in Mexico. It is the home for thousands of species and plants. And it the primary source of drinking water for South Texas residents. In other words, life in South Texas is dependent on the Rio Grande River system,” said Congressman Cuellar, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. “The Binational River Park is a critical project to ensure that humans, plants and animals can continue living in South Texas safely. As an advocate for water security and environmental clean-up, I will continue to ensure south Texas receives federal funding for access to clean drinking water and environmental protection measures.”
“This park and new Congressional earmark proposal are an extraordinary opportunity for Laredo and the region, for conservation and celebration of the Rio Grande and our cultural identity,” said RGISC Executive Director Tricia Cortez.
“This earmark would allow us to undertake a significant restoration project to improve the health of the river, by tackling the proliferation of invasive species and reforesting with native plants and trees. This is critical to improving wildlife habitat and water security, while adding new recreational features to enhance our quality of life.” Cortez added. “The binational river park is a transformational project that fits within RGISC’s 28-year mission of protecting and preserving our region’s No. 1 asset, the Rio Grande.”
"The Bi-National Park project encompassing 1000 acres along 6.2 miles of the Rio Grande is extensive, as it is ambitious, and these funds announced today by Congressman Henry Cuellar will contribute greatly toward making this park a reality,” said Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz. “We thank Congressman Cuellar for his commitment and support of this unique border project, where two nations, one river, one community become one Park.”
The project is expected to be completed in 12-18 months. The breakdown of funding is below:
o Removal of invasive plant species ($200,000)
o Reforestation with native trees, seeds, and plants ($700,000)
o Hydro-mulching ($150,000)
o Soil amendments and drip irrigation system ($175,000)
o Salaries for project management ($150,000)
o Interpretive signage and educational outreach to youth and the general public ($425,000)
o Indirect costs/de minimis ($200,000)