Portugués River

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Coordinates: 17°59′31.488″N 66°35′51.2874″W / 17.99208000°N 66.597579833°W / 17.99208000; -66.597579833

Río Portugués
Río Baramaya,
Río Ponce,
Río Tibes
IMG 3312B - Rio Portugues in Ponce, Puerto Rico.jpg
Portugues River in Ponce, Puerto Rico, looking north from Puente de Los Leones at Miguel Pou Boulevard (PR-1)
EtymologyBarrio Tibes
Location
CountryPuerto Rico
RegionPonce
Physical characteristics
Source 
 - locationBarrio Portugues, Adjuntas, Puerto Rico
 - elevation2,853 feet (870 m)[1]
Mouth 
 - location
Bucaná River
 - elevation
3 feet (0.91 m)[2]
Length18.43 miles (29.66 km)[3][4]
Basin size20.33 sq mi (52.7 km2)[6][7]
Discharge 
 - average16,000 cu ft/s (450 m3/s)[5]
Basin features
ProgressionGuaraguao
San Patricio
Tibes
Portugués
Machuelo Arriba
Sexto
Quinto
Tercero
Cuarto
San Antón
Playa
River systemRío Bucaná
Tributaries 
 - rightChiquito River
Corcho River (Adjuntas)

Río Portugués is a river in the municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico. In the 19th century, it was also known as Río de Ponce.[8][9] Twenty-one bridges for motor vehicle traffic span Río Portugués in the municipality of Ponce alone.[10] The river is also known as Río Tibes in the area where it flows through barrio Tibes in the municipality of Ponce.[11] Río Portugués has a length of nearly 30 kilometers (19 mi) and runs south from the Cordillera Central mountain range into the Caribbean Sea. The Portugués is one of the best-known rivers in Ponce because of its prominent zigzagging through the city and its historical significance.[12] The river is historically significant because the city of Ponce had its origins on its banks. It was originally known as Río Baramaya (Baramaya River).[13] It has its mouth at 17°58′51″N 66°37′26″W / 17.98083°N 66.62389°W / 17.98083; -66.62389. This river is one of the 14 rivers in the municipality.

Origin[edit]

Río Portugués has its origin in Cerro Guilarte,[14] located the western part of barrio Portugués in the bordering municipality of Adjuntas,[15][a] just north of Ponce, and drains into the Caribbean Sea after running for some 27.6 kilometers (17.1 mi).[16][note 1] The river has a discharge of 16,000 feet3/second.[17] The toponomy, or origin of the name, comes from one of its first settlers, Pedro Rodríguez de Guzman, known as el Portugués ("the Portuguese") because his ancestry was from Portugal.[18][note 2]

Tributaries[edit]

Map showing the location of Río Portugués among the other rivers in the municipality. The area in pink represents the urban zone of the city

Río Chiquito is one of the tributaries of Río Portugués (i.e., Río Chiquito feeds into Río Portugués).[19] In the sectors and sub-barrios that it traverses, the locals call the river by the name of such sector/barrio. Thus names such as Río Cedro, Río Nuez, Río Moscada, and Río Tibes as the unofficial local name of Río Portugués in the sectors known as Cedro, Nuez, Moscada and Tibes.[20]

Course of the river[edit]

Starting at its origin in Barrio Portugués, Adjuntas, Río Portugués, as it is known locally, begins to form at an altitude of approximately 2,853 feet (870 m) above sea level.[21] The river then runs in a southerly direction parallel to PR-10 for most of its trajectory, crossing barrios Guaraguao, San Patricio, and Tibes. It brushes barrio Machuelo Arriba on its southwestern corner after it crosses PR-10 just west of the intersection of PR-10 and PR-504, immediately north of the Ponce city limits. From there it enters barrio Machuelo Abajo and continues south crossing Avenida Betances/Avenida Tito Castro (PR-14), at a point about half a mile west of the intersection of routes PR-12 and PR-14. A few hundred feet before the Avenida Betances bridge over Río Portugués in the city of Ponce, the river divides barrios Sexto, located west of the river, and Machuelo Abajo, to the east. It continues south crossing Calle Guadalupe, at which point it divides barrio Quinto to the west and Machuelo Abajo to the east. This point is just west of Club Deportivo de Ponce. Several hundred feet further downstream, at Miguel Pou Boulevard–PR-1 and Puente de los LeonesTricentennial Park, the river divides barrios Tercero and San Antón. Further downstream, the river runs immediately west of La Ceiba Park on Calle Comercio (route PR-133) in sector Cuatro Calles. After crossing Calle Comercio, Río Portugués divides barrios Cuarto and San Anton, and continues its southerly course towards Avenida Las Americas (PR-163).

The following table summarizes the course of the river in terms of roads crossed. Roads are listed as the river flows from its origin in Ponce's Barrio Guaraguao in the north to the Caribbean Sea in the south (N/A = Data not available):

No. Barrio Road Road's
km marker
NBI ID[22] Bridge name
(if any)
Direction
(of bridge traffic)
Coordinates Notes
1 Guaraguao PR-10 19.1 025961 Unnamed Both 18°7′13.692″N 66°39′31.6074″W / 18.12047000°N 66.658779833°W / 18.12047000; -66.658779833 0.5 km N of PR-515
2 San Patricio[23] PR-10 14.8 N/A Unnamed Both 18°7′13.2594″N 66°39′19.008″W / 18.120349833°N 66.65528000°W / 18.120349833; -66.65528000 0.3 km E of PR-10, on Camino Soñadora
3 Tibes PR-503 N/A N/A Unnamed Both 18°6′9.90″N 66°38′35.0514″W / 18.1027500°N 66.643069833°W / 18.1027500; -66.643069833 0.1 km N of Camino Robles; Bridge obliterated by the Portugues Dam
4 Tibes PR-503 N/A 004901 Unnamed Both 18°5′51.0354″N 66°38′30.012″W / 18.097509833°N 66.64167000°W / 18.097509833; -66.64167000 At entrance to Camino Pastillo; Bridge obliterated by the Portugues Dam
5 Tibes PR-10 N/A N/A Unnamed Both 18°5′19.14″N 66°38′24.9354″W / 18.0886500°N 66.640259833°W / 18.0886500; -66.640259833 0.1 km S of PR-503 in Central Barrio Tibes; Bridge obliterated by the Portugues Dam
6 Tibes PR-10 9.3 023261 Unnamed Both 18°2′53.268″N 66°37′30.8994″W / 18.04813000°N 66.625249833°W / 18.04813000; -66.625249833 Just north-northwest of Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes in Southern Barrio Tibes
7 Portugués Rural PR-10 6.9 026711 Unnamed Both 18°2′16.08″N 66°36′40.9314″W / 18.0378000°N 66.611369833°W / 18.0378000; -66.611369833 between PR-503 and PR-504
8 Portugués Rural PR-504 0.1 022481 Unnamed Both 18°2′7.332″N 66°36′41.976″W / 18.03537000°N 66.61166000°W / 18.03537000; -66.61166000 0.1 km east of PR-503, in Barrio Cantera
9 Machuelo Abajo PR-14 2.0 018521 Unnamed Both 18°1′11.244″N 66°36′26.1714″W / 18.01979000°N 66.607269833°W / 18.01979000; -66.607269833 PR-14 is aka Ave. Tito Castro in this area (aka, Ave. Betances)
10 Cantera PR-14R 1.7 022061 La Milagrosa Both 18°1′2.2794″N 66°36′25.3434″W / 18.017299833°N 66.607039833°W / 18.017299833; -66.607039833 PR-14 is aka Calle Guadalupe in this area
11 Tercero PR-1 126.9 019221 Los Leones Both 18°0′45.252″N 66°36′27.36″W / 18.01257000°N 66.6076000°W / 18.01257000; -66.6076000 0.5 km east of Plaza Las Delicias
12 San Antón PR-133 1.2 018561 Unnamed Both 18°0′29.304″N 66°36′23.652″W / 18.00814000°N 66.60657000°W / 18.00814000; -66.60657000 At Parque de la Ceiba
13 San Antón Calle Campos Street has no km markers 018021 Unnamed Both 18°0′18.6834″N 66°36′24.444″W / 18.005189833°N 66.60679000°W / 18.005189833; -66.60679000 At east end of Calle Campos, in comunidad Bélgica
14 San Anton PR-163 1.0 010852 Unnamed WB 18°0′10.8714″N 66°36′25.7754″W / 18.003019833°N 66.607159833°W / 18.003019833; -66.607159833 At Av. Las Américas, east of Hospital Dr. Pila
15 San Antón PR-163 1.0 010862 Unnamed EB 18°0′10.2954″N 66°36′25.884″W / 18.002859833°N 66.60719000°W / 18.002859833; -66.60719000 At Av. Las Américas, east of Hospital Dr. Pila
16 San Antón PR-12 3.6 018921 Unnamed Both 17°59′55.896″N 66°36′20.376″W / 17.99886000°N 66.60566000°W / 17.99886000; -66.60566000 Av. Santiago de los Caballeros/Av. Malecón, between Av. Las Américas and Ponce By-pass. PR-12 used to be signed PR-14 in this area
17 San Antón PR-2 229.0 015941 Unnamed Both 17°59′49.164″N 66°36′6.9474″W / 17.99699000°N 66.601929833°W / 17.99699000; -66.601929833 Ponce By-pass 0.4 km east of PR-12
18 San Antón PR-52 103.7 022691 Unnamed Both 17°59′8.3394″N 66°35′51.54″W / 17.985649833°N 66.5976500°W / 17.985649833; -66.5976500 Flows as Río Bucaná
19 Playa Av. Caribe N/A N/A Unnamed Both 17°58′30.8274″N 66°35′56.1474″W / 17.975229833°N 66.598929833°W / 17.975229833; -66.598929833 Flows as Río Bucaná
20 Playa PR-2 227.7 005841 Caracoles Both 17°59′45.8514″N 66°36′50.544″W / 17.996069833°N 66.61404000°W / 17.996069833; -66.61404000 Ponce By-pass, between Av. Hostos and Plaza del Caribe; This was part of the former course of the river
21 Playa PR-123 3.3 001451 Río Portugués Both 17°59′36.4914″N 66°36′54.9714″W / 17.993469833°N 66.615269833°W / 17.993469833; -66.615269833 Av. Hostos just south of Ponce By-pass; This was part of the former course of the river
22 Playa PR-585 2.4 002751 Unnamed Both 17°58′58.512″N 66°37′23.9874″W / 17.98292000°N 66.623329833°W / 17.98292000; -66.623329833 Av. Padre Noel by Villa Pesquera; This was part of the former course of the river
 

Former and current course[edit]

For flood control purposes, in the 1970s Río Portugués was diverted by the U.S. Corps of Engineers from emptying directly into the Caribbean Sea at Playa de Ponce to feeding into the Río Bucaná which then empties into the Caribbean Sea. This channelization project started in 1974[24] and was completed in 1997.[25] It was a multi-million dollar investment, with just the first phase costing $120 million.[26]

Former course[edit]

The former course of Río Portugués, prior to being diverted and channelized by the U.S. Corps of Engineers in the 1970s, followed from the area just north of Avenida Las Americas/PR-163[27][28] in a south-southwesterly fashion crossing Avenida Las Americas immediately east of Hospital Dr. Pila. It then continued south behind the Governmental Center/Puerto Rico Police Ponce Area headquarters, and followed a trajectory almost parallel to Avenida Hostos (PR-123, formerly PR-10). It then crossed PR-2 immediately east of the intersection of Avenida Hostos and Ponce Bypass/PR-2, at the sector called "Caracoles". From there the river used to continue flowing southerly, at one point just edging the area where Plaza del Caribe now stands. This old course then took a sharp westerly turn and crossed Avenida Hostos, at the now historic Puente Río Portugués. From this point it continued running south-southwesternly where it (now, since the newly built PR-52) crossed PR-52. From here the river flowed another one mile (1.6 km) crossing the low-lying area of Barrio La Playa at Avenida Padre Noel before draining into the Caribbean Sea about 30 or 40 yards from Avenida Padre Noel, in the area called Villa Pesquera.

Current course[edit]

Puerto Rico Highway 139 (PR-139) in Barrio Maraguez, heading South-bound. The Río Portugués canal is visible in the background as it empties into the Caribbean Sea.

Once the U.S. Corps of Engineers canalized Río Portugués as it flowed through the city of Ponce, the Corps also diverted its course from a south-southwesterly course to a south-southeasterly course. This diversion started immediately south of the river's intersection with Avenida Las Americas.

From Avenida Las Americas the river now flows, channalized, in a south-southeasterly after crossing Avenida Las Americas about a quarter of a mile east of Hospital Dr. Pila. After crossing Avenida Las Americas in downtown Ponce, the river comes to the location where in the 1970s it was diverted by the US Corps of Engineers from a southwesterly path to its current southeasterly path. Taking a sharp easterly turn, Río Portugués enters barrio San Antón, and crosses route PR-12/Avenida Malecon about one quarter of a mile north of PR-12's intersection with PR-2. Shortly thereafter the river bends to become southbound and crosses route PR-2, about one quarter of a mile east of PR-2's intersection with PR-12. The river then borders the Julio Enrique Monagas Family Park on the park's western edge until, still canalized, it feeds into Bucaná River about half a mile south of PR-2. The point where Río Portugués feeds into Río Bucaná is about one quarter of a mile north of PR-52 (a.k.a., Autopista Luis A. Ferre) and can be seen from the southbound side of PR-52.

Bucaná River[edit]

After this point Río Portugués is no longer called Río Portugués. It becomes Río Bucaná (Bucaná River) and divides barrios Playa on its western bank and barrio Bucaná on its eastern bank. From there the river continues flowing in southerly course as a single canalized river for half-mile, crossing Autopista Luis A. Ferre/PR-52. Another one mile (1.6 km) of southerly flow and the river empties as a single stream into the Caribbean Sea just east of La Guancha, safely avoiding most low-laying populated areas.[29]

Uses[edit]

Today Río Portugués is one of the most popular rivers for swimming in southern Puerto Rico.[30]

Portugués Dam[edit]

Artistic rendering of Portugues Dam

In 1986, the U.S. Congress approved funding to build the Portugués Dam for Río Portugués about 4 miles (6.4 km) northwest of Ponce. Construction began in April 2008[31] and, when finished, the dam will be the first roller-compacted concrete thick arch dam built anywhere in U.S. soil by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.[32][33] The Cerrillos Dam over Río Cerrillos was finished in 1992, and had also been approved by Congress in 1986. The cost to build the Portugués Dam is over $192 million.[34]

The dam will consist of a dike of 220 feet high by 1,230 feet wide. It will use 368,000 cubic yards of compressed concrete. As of 22 March 2009, 88 percent of the concrete work had been completed. Its scheduled completion date is 2013. The total investment is $375 million USD.[35]

Preservation[edit]

In 1971, Mr. and Mrs. Clark Foreman, owners of the Adjuntas property where Río Portugués originates, granted the development rights of their property in Adjuntas to the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, thereby establishing the first scenic and conservation easement in Puerto Rico. The deed of easement and its restrictive covenants protect a 40-acre (160,000 m2) tract of land that includes the headwaters of Río Portugués. Although the title to the land remains with the Foreman family, the easement restricts the use of the land, safeguarding its trees, vegetation, and other natural resources against destruction or alteration in perpetuity. Today, 42 acres (170,000 m2) of Río Portugués scenic easement in Adjuntas's humid forest are a protected entity of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico.[36]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Other sources report lengths of 18.4 miles – 29.6 km – (See, for example, HERE, Los Rios. Hojas de Nuestro Ambiente. February 2007: P013. Page 3. Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. Retrieved 27 November 2013.) and 16.1 miles – 25.9 km – (See, for example, HERE, Informe Ecologico de Flora y Fauna, Proyecto Gasoducto del Sur: Peñuelas, Ponce, Juana Díaz, Santa Isabel, Salinas. For: Proyecto Gasoducto del Sur - Peñuelas, Ponce, Juana Díaz, Santa Isabel, Salinas. By: ENSR (Piscatway, NJ) – AEE (Autoridad de Energia Electrica). Page 19. Retrieved 26 November 2013.)
  2. ^ Another source names this early settler "Pedro Perdomo de Guzmán". It is not clear which of the two names is the correct name, or if his name was perhaps Pedro Rodriguez Perdomo de Guzmán or some other variation. See Historia de Nuestros Barrios: Portugués, Ponce. Rafael Torrech San Inocencio. El Sur a la Vista. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Elsuralavista.com. 14 February 2010.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Note that there are two barrio Portugues wards, one in the municipality of Ponce and another in the municipality of Adjuntas. The river has its origin in the Barrio Portugues of the municipality of Adjuntas

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rios mas importantes de Puerto Rico. PRFrogui.
  2. ^ Maptest. Archived 18 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. General Purpose Population Data, Census 2000. Unidad de Sistemas de Información Geográfica, Área de Tecnología de Información Gubernamental, Oficina de Gerencia y Presupuesto. Gobierno de Puerto Rico. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  3. ^ Los Rios. Archived 1 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Hojas de Nuestro Ambiente. February 2007: P013. Page 3. Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  4. ^ Recursos de Agua de Puerto Rico. Ferdinand Quiñones. 2018. Page 3-7. Accessed 3 October 2018.
  5. ^ Ferdinand Quiñones and Karl G. Johnson. The Floods of May 17–18, 1985 and October 6–7, 1985 in Puerto Rico. U.S. Geological Survey. Open File Report 87-123. Prepared in Conjunction with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, and the Puerto Rico Highway Authority. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 1987. Page 15.
  6. ^ Los Rios. Archived 1 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Hojas de Nuestro Ambiente. February 2007: P013. Page 3. Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  7. ^ Recursos de Agua de Puerto Rico. Ferdinand Quiñones. 2018. pp. 3–7. Accessed 3 October 2018.
  8. ^ Eli D. Oquendo-Rodriguez. Pablo L. Crespo-Vargas, editor. A Orillas del Mar Caribe: Boceto historico de la Playa de Ponce - Desde sus primeros habitantes hasta principios del siglo XX. First edition. June, 2017. Editorial Akelarre. Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones del Sur Oeste de Puerto Rico (CEISCO). Lajas, Puerto Rico. Page 55. ISBN 978-1547284931
  9. ^ Government of the Municipality of Ponce. Periodico "El Señorial". Special issue: Carnaval Ponceño 2013. February 2013. Page 17. Ponce, Puerto Rico.
  10. ^ National Bridge Inventory Data: Puerto Rico, Ponce. James Baughn. BridgeReports.com 2018. Accessed 7 March 2018.
  11. ^ Government of the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce. Recursos Naturales. Ponce Ciudad Señorial. Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  12. ^ Sunny A. Cabrera Salcedo. Hacia un Estudio Integral de la Toponimia del Municipio de Ponce, Puerto Rico. Ph. D. dissertation. May 1999. University of Massachusetts Amherst. Graduate School. Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Page 49.
  13. ^ Ponce, Puerto Rico. Arecibo Web. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
  14. ^ Las Fiestas Populares de Ponce y La Villa de Ponce. Ramon Marin. 1875. Ponce, Puerto Rico: Imprenta El Vapor. 72 pages. (Reprinted September 1994. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. 281 pages. Page 187.) Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  15. ^ Los ríos y embalses de Adjuntas. Obed David Cintrón González.
  16. ^ Río Portugués. PRFrogui.
  17. ^ Ferdinand Quiñones and Karl G. Johnson. The Floods of May 17–18, 1985 and October 6–7, 1985 in Puerto Rico. U.S. Geological Survey. Open File Report 87-123. Prepared in Conjunction with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, and the Puerto Rico Highway Authority. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 1987. Page 8.
  18. ^ Government of the Municipality of Ponce. Periodico "El Señorial". Special issue: Carnaval Ponceño 2013. February 2013. Page 17. Ponce, Puerto Rico.
  19. ^ Estudios Sociales. Ponce, Puerto Rico: Hidrografia. Projecto Salon Hogar. Retrieved August 8, 2009.
  20. ^ Ponce, Puerto Rico. Archived 14 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine Jorge A. Figueroa Irizarry, Director. Ponce History Museum. Released by Professor F. Suarez. Pontificial Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Page 25.
  21. ^ PRFROFUI. RÍOS MAS IMPORTANTES DE PUERTO RICO.
  22. ^ National Bridge Inventory Data: Puerto Rico, Ponce. James Baughn. BridgeReports.com 2018. Accessed 25 November 2018.
  23. ^ Camino Soñadora Bridge, Barrio San Patricio, Ponce, Puerto Rico, at Open Street Map.
  24. ^ Carmelo Rosario Natal. Ponce En Su Historia Moderna: 1945-2002. Published by Secretaría de Cultura y Turismo of the Government of the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 2003. p. 118.
  25. ^ Proyecto de año: Represa Portugues, Construccion con Ingenieria Extrema. Archived 28 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine Planos y Capacets. May–Jun 2011. Page 10. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  26. ^ Carmelo Rosario Natal. Ponce En Su Historia Moderna: 1945-2002. Published by Secretaría de Cultura y Turismo of the Government of the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 2003. p. 118.
  27. ^ Inauguran la nueva Represa Portugues en Ponce. Antonio R. Gómez. Primera Hora. 5 February 2014. Accessed 21 November 2018.
  28. ^ Inauguran la Represa Portugués en Ponce: La nueva estructura protegerá a 40,000 residentes contra inundaciones. El Nuevo Dia. 5 February 2014. Accessed 21 November 2018.
  29. ^ Surface-Water, Water-Quality, and Ground Water Assessment of the Municipio of Ponce, Puerto Rico, 2002-2004. Jesús Rodríguez-Martínez, Luis Santiago-Rivera, José M. Rodríguez, and Fernando Gómez-Gómez. Scientific Investigations Report No. 2005-5243. United States Geological Survey. Page 81.
  30. ^ Recreación para todos sin salir de Ponce. Sandra Torres Guzmán. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 18 June 2014. Page 26. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  31. ^ Gobernador resalta su gestión en el Sur. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  32. ^ Dam over Río Portugués Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  33. ^ Portugues Dam. Oficinas Comerciales. Spain.
  34. ^ Gobernador resalta su gestión en el Sur. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  35. ^ No se detiene la Represa Portugués. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  36. ^ Hacienda Buena Vista. Río Portugués. Fideicomisio de Puerto Rico.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]