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MERCEDES — The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) is seeking applications from community members interested in participating in the Lower Rio Grande Citizens Forum (LRGCF).

The LRGCF was established in 2003 to facilitate the exchange of information between the USIBWC and members of the public about Commission activities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

The commission is responsible for applying the boundary and water treaties between the United States and Mexico. Commission responsibilities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley include maintenance of Rio Grande flood control levees and diversion dams, water quality monitoring, boundary demarcation at international bridges, water accounting related to Rio Grande water that Mexico delivers to the United States as required by treaty, and review of plans to construct new infrastructure across or along the Rio Grande to ensure compliance with applicable treaties, among other activities.  Notably, during 2010 following Hurricane Alex and Tropical Depression No. 2, the Commission operated the Lower Rio Grande Flood Control Project to protect the community from Rio Grande floodwaters.

The Lower Rio Grande Citizens Forum is intended to bring together community members, enabling the early and continued two-way flow of information, concerns, values, and needs between the USIBWC and the general public, environmentalists, government agencies, irrigation districts, municipalities, and other interested parties.  Duties and responsibilities will include reviewing and commenting on technical documents and activities associated with USIBWC projects in the area. Past meetings of the LRGCF have addressed such issues as rehabilitation of Rio Grande flood control levees, water quality studies, removal of debris in the Arroyo Colorado, and dam safety.

Terms for all LRGCF board members have expired so the USIBWC has decided to open the application process to the general public. Incumbent board members who wish to continue their service are eligible for re-appointment.

The board conducts regular public meetings in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, approximately four times per year, to discuss plans and issues related to ongoing and future USIBWC projects. Board members serve as volunteers for a two-year term and are expected to attend all meetings.

Members of the public who would like an application for the Lower Rio Grande Citizens Forum may contact the USIBWC Lower Rio Grande Projects Office at 956-565-3150 or Public Affairs Officer Sally Spener at sally.spener@ibwc.gov. Applications are due Nov. 18. The application and additional information are also available at

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