Carrizo Cane may seem as a harmless plant to many, but over the past few months, it has been giving Starr County Commissioners a lot to think about. This is the county’s plan to eradicate the plant, without harming the environment.
Starr County Commissioners are trying to find the best solution to get rid of the Carrizo Cane near the Rio Grande River. Just recently they all agreed to oppose any aerial spraying of herbicides, due to the safety risks it poses to nearby residents.
Cynthia Garcia Fuentes, Starr County Public Relations Director says, “Spraying herbicides can be very dangerous. It can contaminate the environment. It can cause problems for our water. It can also cause cancer and other illnesses.”
The plant’s high water absorption rate is one of the reasons why the county is trying to remove it from the banks of the Rio Grande River.
Cynthia Garcia Fuentes says, “It does consume a lot of water. It doesn’t help the natural growth of other plants around the area. So that can also be damaging to the environment.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents also want the plant gone, since it can grow up to 25 feet, which can complicate an agent’s visibility when looking for anyone trying cross the border illegally.
Cynthia Garcia Fuentes also added, “Border Patrol Agents are not able to see all the way across the river. People can be hiding behind the weeds, and there can be other situations.”
For the moment, Starr County will continue to test different methods to get rid of the plant until they find one that’s convenient to everyone. The counties of Zapata and Webb, and the city of Laredo have also opposed any aerial spraying on the Carrizo plants.