The Commission for Environmental Cooperation releases the Big Bend-Río Bravo Conservation Assessment, the latest result of over 20 years of environmental cooperation in North America
Montreal, 23 April 2014—Today, the CEC released its Conservation Assessment for the Big Bend-Río Bravo Region: A Binational Collaborative Approach to Conservation, which identifies 29 priority conservation areas in a region straddling the United States-Mexico border that includes 11 different protected areas in the states of Texas, Coahuila, and Chihuahua. This region features unique, highly diverse arid and semi-arid habitats inhabited by rare and endangered plants and animals, and provides a vital migratory stopping point for many species of birds and animals on their journey across the continent.
The improved resilience for this area of North America that will result from the implementation of the recommendations of the Assessment is being celebrated by the CEC as part of its 20thanniversary. The cooperative, multi-stakeholder approach used to identify conservation priorities in the Big Bend-Río Bravo region included scientists, government experts, private landowners, and communities and is symbolic of the CEC’s 20 years of collaborative work on a wide array of environmental policy issues.
Taking input from those who live and work in the Rio Grande region, along with advice from outside experts, the Assessment identifies conservation targets for, and threats to, the grassland, mountainous, aquatic, and riparian habitats of this vast transboundary landscape, including the Rio Grande itself. Drawing from the recommendations and priorities identified in the Assessment for the region, the CEC is supporting restoration and monitoring actions in selected tributaries and a landscape-wide monitoring program throughout the region.
Recommendations of the Assessment:
The Assessment’s ultimate goals are to:
When Big Bend National Park was established on 12 June 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States of America wrote to President Manuel Ávila Camacho of Mexico, “I do not believe that this undertaking in the Big Bend will be complete until the entire park area in this region on both sides of the Rio Grande forms one great international park.” Seventy years later, the pace of the current binational efforts picked up in 2010, with a statement from the US and Mexican governments to “work through appropriate national processes to recognize and designate Big Bend–Río Bravo as a natural area of binational interest.”
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established in 1994 by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a parallel environmental agreement to NAFTA. As of 2020, the CEC is recognized and maintained by the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, in parallel with the new Free Trade Agreement of North America. The CEC brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public, Indigenous people, youth, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the business sector, to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations
The CEC is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Government of the United States of Mexico through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.