Collective Action and the Ribbons of Green

A paragraph from the new book Bob Berrens and I are writing about the Rio Grande and the making of modern Albuquerque: To understand a community – any community – you can start with its water. Collective problem-solving, collective action, lies at the core of community, and our relationship with our water requires us to …

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“Drouth had no terrors here.”

I dropped off the Santa Fe Overland at Albuquerque about a year ago during the drouth that prevailed over the southwest at that time. The range was as dry and hard as a table. Rivers and streams had dried up. Cattle were dying and the country seemed utterly desolate. Imagine my astonishment and delight when …

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For the first time in four decades, the Rio Grande through Albuquerque is dry

For the first time in ~40 years (? – see below) New Mexico’s Rio Grande has “broken” – is no longer flowing – in what we call “the Albuquerque reach”. The river dries not with a bang, but with a muddy whimper and the dawn serenade of awakening birds. Battered by 100-degree days, with storage …

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“a veritable garden spot”

Barr Irrigation District The home of the ill-fated “Barr Irrigation District” is not one of Albuquerque’s scenic destinations. Perched on low sand hills between Albuquerque’s soft industrial underbelly and the city’s “Sunport” (our marketing appellation for what a lesser metropolis might call an “airport”), the old irrigation district land is today home to an interstate, …

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As Albuquerque’s Rio Grande dries, is the system simply functioning as we intended?

In a sad but important way, the disastrous 2022 water year has been a gift to the writer, and I’m spending as much time as I can in reporter mode, sussing out the stories of this remarkable year. In the new book we’re writing, Bob Berrens and I are trying to make sense of the …

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Ditch Lobster in a Drying Griegos Lateral

Sorry I didn’t have the presence of mind to give you something for scale. This little critter was a a bit smaller than my hand, crawling along the bottom of the drying Griegos Lateral, one of the 1700s-era irrigation ditches on the Albuquerque Rio Grande Valley floor. Drying kind early this year, because climate change. …

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