Mapping Riparian Vegetation of the Lower Rio Grande Valley

Principle Investigators:
Dr. Frank Judd, University of Texas - Pan American
Dr. Robert Lonard, University of Texas - Pan American
Dr. Melba Crawford, University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Mita Desai, University of Texas - San Antonio

Proposed Work
The efforts to study the riparian vegetation of the Lower Rio Grande Valley is a joint project between the University of Texas Pan American, the University of Texas at Austin Center for Space Research, and the University of Texas - San Antonio. With recent development of the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV), the amount of natural vegetation is thought to be declining. The purpose of this joint effort is to map the extent of the riparian vegetation and its changes over time. This will be done by using aerial videography (provided by USDA/Weslaco) and satellite imagery.

The LRGV studied in the project extends aproximately 240 km from Falcon Dam to the mouth of the Rio Grande. Drs. Judd and Lonard have done extensive biological surveys of the area and are quite familiar with the native vegetation. For this project, eight testsites were selected and vegetation transects were run from the banks of the river to 50-100 meters inland.

1996 Estimates of Riparian Vegetation

Videography Classification of Testsites along the Lower Rio Grande
1. Boca Chica
2. Palmitto Hill (Old Water Plant)
3. Sabal Palm Sanctuary
4. Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
5. Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge & Anzalduas Park
6. Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park
7. Salineno
8. La Joya; US Fish and Wildlife

Description of Common Vegetation of Lower Rio Grande Valley

Dominant Plant Species along Lower Rio Grande Valley at testsites

Prosopis glandulosaMesquite
Celtis laevigate Hackberry
Ulmus crassifolia Cedar Elm
Ehretia anacua Anacua (Evergreen)
Salix nigra Black Willow
Parkinsonia aculeata Retama

Avicenna germinans Black Mangrove
Zanthoxylum fagara "una de gato" Cats Claw
Celtis pallido Spiny Hackberry
Mimosa pigra Mimosa
Opuntia lindheimora Prickly Pear
Prosopis glandulosa Mesquite

Monothochloe littoralis Shoregrass
Borrichia frutescens Sea Oxeye
Panicum maximum Guinea Grass
Cenchrus cilliaris Buffalo Grass


Last Modified: Tue Dec 17 1996 CSR/TSGC Team Web