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The Laguna Alvarado is located 70 km Southeast of the Port of Veracruz and it is permanently connected to the Gulf of Mexico through a 400 m wide opening. It is mainly formed by the Buen Pais, Camaronera and Tlalixcoyan lagoons, but it is also associated with a great number of small aquatic bodies and flood zones. The lagoon system is related with the Papaloapan River, whose basin covers an area of approximately 39,189 square km, extends through the states of Oaxaca, Puebla and Veracruz and traverses a distance of 445 km. Two currents form the Papaloapan; the first current receives the rivers Grande, Las Vueltas, Apoala, San Pedro and Tomellin and the second current receives the rivers Zapotitlan, Hondo and Jiquila. Together, these two currents take in the rivers Usila and Valle Nacional, take on the name of Papaloapan, and go on to receive the Tonto and San Juan rivers towards the Northeast. In the San Juan, the Papaloapan empties the Catemaco Lake through the Tuxtila River, which forms the Eyipantla waterfalls, passing through the city of Tlacotalpan and finally emptying in the Laguna Alvarado.
The lagoon is characterized by a great diversity of interactions with its adjacent systems, particularly with an extensive marsh, which contributes greatly to its biological productivity. Seasonal changes are well pronounced and are mainly influenced by direct climate conditions associated with its ecosystem. The lagoon hosts a great diversity of fauna, particularly of reptiles and amphibians, which combined account for 55 of the 953 species found in Mexico. The Laguna Alvarado is one of the most important systems in the Gulf of Mexico, but the increase of anthropogenic activities in its surrounding terrestrial areas coupled with the scarce waste management planning have contributed to local and regional changes in its hydrological characteristics.
Coordinates: 18.79° N 95.83° W
Selected Characteristics: (Ecosystems Lagunares Costeros)
Surface Area: 62 km2
Average Depth: 1.5 m
Castaneda L.O. and F.E. Contreras. 2001. Serie: Bibliografia Comentada sobre ecosistemas costeros mexicanos 2001. Centro de Documentacion Ecosistemas Litorales Mexicanos. Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Unidad Iztapalapa, Division C. B. S. Depto. de Hidrologia. Publicacion electronica (CD). ISBN:970-654-912-9. Mexico, D.F.
Ecosystems Lagunares Costeros
Keywords: Lagoon, Marsh, Amphibian, Reptile, Anthropogenic activity
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