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Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Saturday, 07 July 2012
in Mother Nature's Water

The New River: A Waterway Still in Progress

The New River runs from Mexicali, the capital of Baja Mexico, to the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley of iv press warning photo new river CNRCCalifornia for a total of  77 miles (125 kilometers). It crosses the border from Mexico into California near the city of Calexico 122 miles east of San Diego.

The New was formed in 1905 when a levee broke in the Colorado River and the water carved a course until finally stopping and creating the Salton Sea which had been a dry until then. The Salton Sea is also fed by the Whitewater and Alamo rivers.

After the levee breach was repaired the New River dried up. Later the channel would fill again with sewage and irrigation runoff from Mexico which makes it less of a river and more of a giant polluted ditch. Mexicali’s water infrastructure would prove to be insufficient to handle a booming border population and in 1996 a binational renovation project began work on the town’s sewage pipes and facilities. The EPA said despite these “significant improvements, 10% of the New River’s flows still consisted of raw sewage”

Ten years after repairs began a wastewater treatment plant in Mexicali was completed and an estimated 15 million gallons of daily sewage is diverted from the New. The sewage is treated and discharged into irrigation canals that flow south into the Rio Hardy- a tributary of the Colorado River Delta in Mexico. Today the New River and the Salton Sea are healthier but the work is far from over.

The EPA isn’t the only agency with an interest in the New River: the California-Mexico Border Relations Committee and the faculty of UC Davis Extension through the New River Technical Advisory Committee have released a Strategic Plan for the river.

“The plan proposes taking a community liability and turning it into an asset," says Jeff Loux, Ph.D., chair of UC Davis Extension's Science, Agriculture and Natural Resources Department and the plan’s principal investigator. "It essentially treats the entire river, which, to our knowledge, has never been done before."

CNRC new river polluted and foamyThe New River Improvement Project will study, monitor, remediate, and enhance the river's water quality for the public, the surrounding ecosystem, and local economy. As of right now, and probably not ever, are there any plans to scrap the projects that have preceded the new plan only to build on the existing infrastructure. One example is the installation of disinfection and trash screens to treat agricultural run-off.

"This is an important step. After decades of abuse, the New River has the chance to be restored. And if it works here, the model can be applied to other trans-national waterways around the world. It takes people, agencies and countries coming together and committed to making a difference,"  Loux said.

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Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. Samina and her husband believe that sustainability starts in the home and try to live their lives as simply as possible without compromising comfort.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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