Resacas are former channels of the Rio Grande and their purpose is to divert and dissipate floodwater from a river. The networks of resacas that stretch throughout the city of Brownsville are a unique part to the city’s character and culture. They act as an important ecological habitat for various wildlife species, helping to control floodwaters, and providing raw water storage to supplement the city of Brownsville’s water supply.
However, over the years, sediment carried by storm water runoff from adjacent urban and rural watersheds has been deposited in the resacas, reducing the depth, storage capacity, and natural circulation. Trash and other debris have also clogged these waterways. As a result, water quality has been degraded and aquatic life in the resacas has been limited. Dredging is the only way to return these resacas to their original depth, according to the BPUB General Manager and CEO John Bruciak. Once complete, the project will improve aesthetics and park areas, increase storm water and raw water storage capacity, enhance habitats for birds and other wildlife, create opportunities for recreation and eco-tourism, and produce opportunities for growth.