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A Dry Rio Grande and Its Impact on Endangered Fish

June 12, 2020 – On this month’s episode of Our Land, we visit the dry bed of the Rio Grande south of Socorro, New Mexico, and also talk with biologist Thomas Archdeacon about why the drying occurs, how it affects endangered fish, and why this year’s recovery of rare silvery minnows was complicated by COVID-19. New Mexico’s largest river has consistently dried in this stretch over the past two decades, and as the region continues warming, that will continue to occur. This year, the mountains that supply the Rio Grande saw near-normal snowpack for most of the winter, and yet drying still began in late May. And, as Archdeacon points out, even in years like 2019 which saw record high runoff, the river dried in the fall.  


Laura Paskus 


Thomas Archdeacon, Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

For Further Reading: 

More drought on tap for western US amid low river flowsLas Cruces Sun News 

Climate change drying up Rio Grande, experts sayKLTV 

River, stream flows drop noticeably in New MexicoThe Durango Herald