We surveyed four of five largest rivers of the Pacific coast of Mexico: Two of them (the Fuerte and the Santiago rivers) are dammed, while the other two (the Acaponeta and the San Pedro) run free. The fifth and largest river of the Mexican Pacific coast, the Balsas River, was not surveyed because the estuary and the neighboring oceanic coasts have been walled to stop the accelerated coastal recession that started after the building of the Infiernillo dam in the lower basin. By comparing the dammed against the undammed rivers, we analyzed the way sediment trapping has affected the estuaries. We analyzed (i) long-term multidecadal change using Landsat images, (ii) short-term (<10 years) change using Google Earth Pro images, (iii) current vegetation condition through ground surveys, and (iv) estuarine productivity by counting fishing boats and using official statistics on estuarine fisheries production.

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