Rio Grande dries up at Bosque del Apache
April 18, 2018 08:04 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – About 80 miles south of Albuquerque, the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is known for being a bird watcher's paradise. Designated refuge wetlands are doing their job, feeding flocking species and serving as a place for rest and procreation.
It's about the only water seen there now. Refuge manager Kevin Cobble said about 15 miles of the Rio Grande within the refuge dried up about two weeks ago.
"It's kind of depressing to come to the river and see it bone dry," he said.
That is a direct threat to wildlife. Cobble said it's also a threat to everyone if the current dry trend continues.
"Some of the worst case scenarios are saying it could potentially dry up into Albuquerque," he said.
The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge was founded in 1939 as the dust bowl threatened vulnerable bird populations. Statewide water conservation is the only way the refuge will get through these tough times, Cobble said.
"From our standpoint, it's extremely important that people conserve above us because we're at the end of the ditch," he said.
Crews are working to retain what little water remains by removing invasive plant species like salt cedar, which is known to use a lot of water. Beyond that, infrastructure has been established to keep the water flowing south of this dry patch.
"Pumps at our south boundary that take water from the low flow conveyance channel and pump it into the river and they maintain the river from there down to elephant butte reservoir," said Cobble.
Crews are even transporting the protected silvery minnow to Elephant Butte and other safe areas. Cobble said this is all necessary to maintain a healthy river.
"My opinion is humans act best in a crisis sometimes. They come together and work on a solution," he said.
Updated: April 18, 2018 08:04 PM
Created: April 18, 2018 04:54 PM
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