Tag Archives: wildfires

Our Land: It’s not just one dry year: What the Rio Grande’s low flows tell us about the future

Our Land

April 13, 2018 – You might be surprised to see how low the Rio Grande is through Albuquerque right now. The river has already dried for more than ten miles south of Socorro, and it’s running low in northern New Mexico as it runs through the Taos Gorge and alongside towns like Pilar.

But scientists aren’t necessarily surprised. Many have been researching how climate change will affect both surface and ground water supplies in the southwestern United States. In a new paper from University of New Mexico graduate Shaleene Chavarria and UNM’s Earth and Planetary Sciences Professor David Gutzler, the two show how warming is affecting snowpack and streamflows.

New Mexico in Focus has been covering record-low snowpack this year on Our Land, our monthly environmental series on environmental issues.  And this week we look at what’s happening now that snowmelt is not refilling the river—and what new research tells us about where we are headed.

Keep up with our coverage on the Our Land Facebook page.

Our Land: Collaborative Forest Restoration

NMiF: Our Land

November 24, 2017 - In the Jemez Mountains, a long-term project brings together people from different backgrounds, scientists from a range of disciplines and even environmental advocates and the timber industry.

The Southwest Jemez Mountains Resilient Landscapes and Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project covers 210,000 acres spread across the Santa Fe National Forest, Valles Caldera and the Pueblo of Jemez.

The goal is to return the Jemez’s forests to their more natural state—closer to what they were like before large-scale grazing in the late 1800s and a century’s worth of fire-suppression led to the thickets they had become by the end of the 20th century, when overgrown forests, drought and warming led to fires like Las Conchas in 2011.

In the August, 2017, episode of “Our Land: New Mexico’s Environmental Past, Present and Future,” Dr. Bob Parmenter, chief of science and resource stewardship at Valles Caldera National Preserve, and Susan Harrelson, a silviculturalist with the U.S. Forest Service, show us the difference between healthy and overgrown forests in northern New Mexico and talk about the importance of reintroducing fire to the landscape.

Learn More/Read More:
Southwest Jemez Mountains Resilient Landscapes and Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project
Santa Fe National Forest historic photograph archives
Valles Caldera National Preserve
New Mexico Political Report