How Albuquerque’s Rio Grande looks now, and what to expect this spring and summer

We stopped on Saturday’s bike ride for one of my favorite views of the Rio Grande, looking north from the Gail Ryba Bridge (the bike bridge that parallels Interstate 40). The Rio Grande looks great right now, but looks can be deceiving. This time of year there’s always “base flow” – the basic winter flow …

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The “novel ecosystem” of Albuquerque’s valley ditches

This morning’s Downtown Albuquerque News (some of my favorite Albuquerque journalisms, worth ever $ spent to subscribe) has an item on Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District board member Barbara Baca’s thoughts on ditchbank vegetation: Through its vast network of irrigation ditches, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District is primarily in the water delivery business, but …

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A bad year on the Rio Grande: climate adaptation in real time

With another abysmal runoff forecast on the Rio Grande, New Mexico is entering a fascinating experiment, playing out in real time, in climate change adaptation. The latest model runoff forecast, circulated this morning by the folks at NRCS, is for flow of just 59 percent of average where the Rio Grande enters central New Mexico …

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Aldo Leopold’s Albuquerque

In the early 20th century, before Aldo Leopold became Aldo Leopold, the young forester lived on what was then the edge of Albuquerque’s expanding urban fringe. 135 14th St. SW SE sits today as a fine example of early 20th century “bungalows” that you might find in many western American cities. But when Leopold lived …

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In which I write about manure

The latest product of my eclectic new academic career – a paper about manure. Manure disposal is a growing problem as agricultural specialization leads to ever-larger concentrations of farm animals. Animals and crops were once grown on the same farm, creating an easy path for manure disposal on cropland in a cycle from animals to …

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The circuitous path to Max Gutierrez’s grave

It at some point may become necessary, and valuable, to backtrack and trace the path that led us to Max Gutierrez’s grave last Sunday. It was my friend Scot who found Max’s grave, which is appropriate because it was Scot who found Max. Scot had already found what he thought might be Max’s house, on …

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A piece of Albuquerque water history: City Well #4

Scot spotted it first, a pipe sticking up a few feet above the ground, a square locked box on top of it, behind a low fence on Apple Lane in Albuquerque’s Duranes neighborhood: City Well #4. It was here on Jan. 31, 1957, that what we might think of as the first groundwater measurement of …

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“City Psychiatrist Defies Edict on Water Wells”

My new favorite water policy newspaper headline, courtesy Better Burque, a wizard of old newspaper research down a rabbit hole with me looking at Albuquerque water policy circa 1957. The psychiatrist, John W. Myers, also operated Sandia Gardens Nursery. New Mexico State Engineer Steve Reynolds was trying to put the brakes on new water well …

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Luke Runyon on the West’s three great zombie water projects

Luke Runyon published a nice piece earlier this week on setbacks to three of the Colorado River Basin’s three great zombie water projects: 2020 has been a tough year for some of the Colorado River basin’s long-planned, most controversial water projects. Proposals to divert water in New Mexico, Nevada and Utah have run up against …

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