Saturday, March 22, 2014

the laguna goes to the barber shop

"Everything has a sequence." 

So says my younger brother.  And he is correct in his north-of-the-Rio-Bravo mindset.

And so it is with the laguna cleanup project.  You may remember it.  In November 2012, I told you that a civic association (Prolatule A.C) had been formed to clean up a portion of the laguna that forms part of my back yard.

This poor body of water has suffered many indignities.  At one time, it was a mangrove lagoon.  Just like its cousins that dot Mexico Pacific coast.

A place where fresh and salt water could mix and impurities can be cleaned from inland water.  Think of it as the liver and lower intestine of the ecosystem.

At some point, most of the mangrove trees were destroyed on my side of the laguna.  The entire shore is now populated with houses.  Some of which allow sewer to flow directly into the water.

As a result of the sewage and the runoff of nitrogen from our surrounding farms, what was once a digestive system has turned into a pool of water covered with water hyacinth and water cabbage, and is surrounded by knots of tule grass.

Prolatule targeted those three plants for a radical haircut in the small arm of the laguna that ends at my current home.

The association hired at least two separate crews to cut the weeds and grasses on the bank, to dredge the water hyacinth and water cabbage from the surface, and to cut back some of the tule that was choking the flow of water in the arm.  It was an ambitious project.

But the results are now in.  And, in the aggregate, the laguna looks a lot better in our little part of the world.  The association members who made all of this come together deserve a lot of thanks for what was an incredible effort.

Several years ago, the local government built a walkway around a portion of the laguna in Villa Obregon.  It is a nice piece of architecture.  Wide.  Made of pavers.  Perfect for fat white boys to do a bit of exercising.

It now looks more like it did when it was first constructed.  With the weeds on the bank gone, it is possible to enjoy a full vista.  And with some of the tule grass gone, the water has a better chance to circulate.

This is the view of my little "pond" before the project began.

This is what it looks like now.

It is not a perfect job.  And no one said it would be.  Like most haircuts, there are a few jagged edges where clumps of debris have been left in place.  There are also large clumps of water hyacinth and water cabbage in the arm just waiting to take back their own.

Even though the end of the arm where I live looks as if it has suffered the equivalent of an old growth timber clear cut, the tule will grow back. 

And with it, the birds and iguanas who have completely disappeared from this end of the arm will return.  I hope.

My biggest concern is for the crocodiles.  Their nesting area has been stripped bare of any cover for hatchlings.  Since the work began February, I have not seen any crocodiles near the nesting beach.  But I have seen several a few hundred feet to east.

Maybe the egg-laying mothers will return later in the spring.

I hope so.  The crocodiles are what keep me here.

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