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Tortuga Tex Visits a Cienega at
Balmorhea State Park! - Text Version

comic version

Howdy, Tortuga Tex here! I’m at this cienaga to see how the comanche pupfish (Cyprinodon elanegans) and pecos gambusia (Gambusia nobilis) are doin’ in their newly restored home.

As you can see on my map, we are in west Texas . I am standing next to one of the old canals at Balmorhea State Park which until recently made up a lot of the habitat these endangered pupfish and gambusia had left. But if you visit Balmorhea today, you can find them in a restored cienaga too!

What’s a cienaga you say? Cienaga is a spanish word meaning marsh. Around here these marshes are spring fed and are very important to the local wildlife.

Mescalero Apache and Jumano indians that once lived around here depended upon the cienagas as a main source of food and water, especially water. Water from cienagas has also been diverted for irrigation and home use, but many springs have dried up. This is one reason why places like Balmorhea State Park are so important.

As part of the cienaga restoration, a boardwalk and view window to look under water were built. Through the view window you can see fish, invertebrates, turtles and more.

If you have questions about aquatic life in Texas , write to:


Join me next time when we’ll head down to the gulf coast!

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