"scrape the land clean of natural vegetation "

This photograph shows the Rio Grande River running through Big Bend National Park.  On this side is U.S. territory.  Across the river is Mexican territory.  The land is in its natural state, and it suggests how the desert areas of south Texas looked before the introduction of irrigation farming. The Texas Handbook Online offers a very good summary of how development in the Rio Grande Valley has changed the region's landscape and culture.

Rio Grande Valley
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRio Grande River - Credit: Daniel Schwen