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The Panuco River is located in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico. It is an estuary associated with the lagoons Chairel, Pueblo Viejo, Cerro Pez, Dulce, Tortugas, Chila Marlano, Los Moros, Quimin Camalote, Herradura and Tancoco, and whose basin covers approximately 107,200 square km. The estuary is considered a salt-water wedge with moderate longitudinal salinity and elevated vertical salinity.
The river originates in the state of Mexico, flows from Southeast to Northeast and passes through the states of Hidalgo, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Queretaro, Guanajuato and Veracruz, covering a distance of 510 km and receiving several tributaries that help in its formation. It begins as the Tula River, which is formed by the rivers Tepeji, Santa Maria and El Salto or Desague. In Queretaro, it receives the San Juan River, which together with the Tula, form the Moctezuma River. It goes on to act as a boundary between the states of Hidalgo and Queretaro, and receive the rivers Extorax, Amajaque, Tempoal and Tamuin. In this region, it becomes the boundary between the states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz, runs towards the coast near its opening, and continues on to serve as a boundary once again between the two states. Finally, it takes in the Tamesi River 10 km before it ends its journey in the Gulf of Mexico.
Aquatic vegetation plays an important role in the equilibrium and conservation of aquatic ecosystems, and the Chairel and Toncol lagoons, both belonging to the lower Panuco river basin, have a great wealth of aquatic vegetation resources thanks to the different habitats they both possess. There are 111 registered species and 40 families, and the Cyperaceae with 30 species is among the most diverse of the families. In addition, the lagoons are of great importance to the local communities that surround them. The Chairel serves as a catchment basin for the provision of potable water to the nearby towns and industries. However, today aquatic vegetation is being threatened by the petrochemical and port industries, which have a direct and strong impact on the local aquatic systems.
Coordinates: 22.07° N 97.75° W
Selected Characteristics: (Castaneda and Contreras, 2001)
Surface Area: 107,200 km2
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.
Keywords: Salt-water wedge, Aquatic vegetation, Aquatic ecosystem
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