Friday, February 1, 2013


Thursday, February 1  - We headed West this morning with a convoy of friends. Ten of us headed to the western reaches of the Rio Grande Valley. First stop Falcon Dam and Power Plant. Falcon Dam is the major multipurpose international dam. The function is to control and regulate the flow of international waters and to provide a means of contributing to the mutual welfare of Mexico and the United States, in compliance with various existing treaties. (Not our words but the International Water Boundary Commission's.) Additional purposes of the dam are flood control, conservation, and hydroelectric power.

port of entry

This is one of three dams on the Rio Grande River.

map of water way

We saw several vehicles driving to Mexico and back to the U.S. We were told not to go into this part of Mexico. As the story goes, the drug cartels own it all. Don't have to tell us twice.


Were the Mexican flag flies is the center of the dam and the international boundary. We have no idea where the U.S. flag is.Mexico flag

Here are some statistic about the dam.


  • U.S. - 10,133 feet
  • Mexico - 16,161 feet
  • Total - 26,294 feet
  • Height - 150 feet above river bed.
  • Crest elevation - 323.0 feet above mean sea level.
  • Maximum width at base – 1,000 feet
  • Width at top – 35 feet

Flood gates…looking towards the U.S.
flood gate

One of the flood gate doors.gate door

Storage capacity-1972 survey

  • Superstorage - 801,000 acre feet
  • Flood Control - 509,000 acre feet
  • Conservation & Silt - 2,668,000 acre feet
  • Total - 3,978,000 acre feet – WOW

One of the power plants.
power plant

The damn created a huge lake near Roma, TX, covering nearly 100,000 acres. Of course with the recent drought in Texas, the water level is down.

Spillway to River.

You can see from the photo below how low the Rio Grande River is in this area.Rio Grande River

Here is a very interesting story about the dam.

  • In June 2010, U.S. authorities revealed that the Los Zetas drug cartel had planned to destroy the Falcon Dam in order to terrorize the rival Gulf Cartel which smuggles drugs in the area. Small amounts of dynamite discovered near the dam and a copy of a warning helped alert authorities. A larger U.S. and Mexican security presence in the area may have thwarted the attack that Los Zetas had reportedly warned civilians about on the Mexican-side of the border. (Houston Chronicle)

In July, 2010, the damn release water because heavy rains attributed to Hurricane Alex.Tremendous damage was suffered down-river. If you're familiar with the National Birding Centers in South Texas, it was this event that caused significant damage to these parks. 

The wind was blowing like crazy! Gusts of nearly 60 mph and strong sustained winds. It created a cold environment and making walking on the dam very difficult. Brrrrrrrr!

us leaning from wind

If visiting the dam, you need your passport. You pass through U.S. Customs when you walk back to the U.S.side of the dam.

welcome to Texas

Part II of Making Memories to come tomorrow.

We leave you with the craziest saying we have ever seen on a trash receptacle. We like the message.

trash can

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!