Three men use shovels to unclog Rio Grande

It didn’t take a million-dollar dredging project to unclog the Rio Grande and send it on its way to the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in almost a year. No, it only took three men with shovels.

The men, who are from Mexico, dug a 400-foot ditch in two days at Boca Chica Beach in Texas. An official dredging project failed in four months because the water flow wasn’t sufficient to prevent sediment from rebuilding.

“It almost takes an act of Congress to do something like that,” Xavier Rios, a supervisory border patrol agent in McAllen, Texas, told the Brownsville Herald.

The men designed the ditch to relieve residual flooding caused by the clogged river. Border patrol agents said the men told them their homes were being flooded because water from the river was flowing into flatlands instead of into the Gulf.

Hydrilla and water hyacinths, which are native to South America, have taken over large sections of the Rio Grande, making it virtually impassable. The invader plants have some of the fastest growth rates in the world and can double their population in just 12 days.