Global environmental challenges
When the United States and Mexico talk of cooperation over their shared border, that usually means working to stamp out drug trafficking and gun running. But this week the two neighbors put their shoulders behind a gentler effort: safeguarding a unique area of wilderness straddling the Rio Grande River.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Mexico’s Environment and Natural Resources Minister Juan Elvira on Tuesday announced a plan to enhance conservation in the area around Big Bend, in Texas, and El Carmen in the northern Mexican states of Chihuahua and Coahuila.
The area of adjoining parks and protected areas includes high desert, rugged mountains and plunging canyons that together form one of the borderland’s most haunting natural landscapes, far from troubled cities where drug-related killings are rife.
The area includes the Rio Grande River – known as the Rio Bravo south of the border in Mexico — and 3 million acres of parks and protected areas. It is home to more than 450 species of birds, a number of them unique to the borderlands, including the Mexican duck, the Lucifer hummingbird, the Mexican jay and the Colima warbler.