The Nazas River is a river located in northern Mexico, in territory of the states of Coahuila and Durango. It is part of the endorheic Bolsón de Mapimí. It is only 560 kilometres (350 mi) long, but irrigates an area of 71,906 km² in the middle of the desert. The Nazas is also nurtured by the San Juan, Ramos, Potreritos, del Oro, Nazas, Santiago, Tepehuanes and Peñón Blanco rivers. The river starts at the Sierra Madre Occidental. Tiahualilo ("The Devil") is an aboriginal title for this stream, and seems not ill fitting to it when one of its mighty torrents is in flow
It took its name when the Spaniards during the conquest of Mexico saw the original inhabitants of the shore of the river fishing with some artifacts similar to baskets, whose Spanish name is 'nasa', for that reason it was known as the 'river of nazas'.
The river acts as divider between the cities of Gómez Palacio in Durango and Torreón in Coahuila. The city of Torreón is named after a tower that was built in the area by Leonardo Zuloaga's administrator, Pedro Santa Cruz, to observe the water level of the Nazas from afar .
The Nazas has served as one of the most important natural resources enabling development in the Laguna Region since the middle of the 19th century.
All of its waters are locked in Francisco Zarco and Lázaro Cardenas dams, both located in Durango, which have significantly reduced the once mighty flow of the river. However, Coahuila gets it annual share by mutual agreement between the state governments. Indeed, on its way, it fills smaller water bodies like the Palmito dam (in Torreón) and the Santiaguillo lagoons. The river ends in the now drained Mayrán Lagoon and the Caimán Lakes in the Tlahualilo region.
The Nazas watershed contains considerable desertic habitat, outside of the immediate riparian zone. A large variety of flora and fauna populate the Nazas Basin, with a variety of succulent native plants. One of the widespread flora is the Ocotillo. A number of freshwater fishes are found in the Nazas River, including Notropis nazas.
- C. Michael Hogan. 2009
- Seth Eugene Meek. 1904
- C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Ocotillo, GlobalTwotcher.com ed. N. Stromberg
- Seth Eugene Meek. 1904. The fresh-water fishes of Mexico north of the isthmus of Tehuantepec, 252 pages
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