New study to help water planners in changing climate
There are more and more signs that global warming triggered a step-change in many natural systems in the 1980s. A new study, led by scientists with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, tracked a big change in flows in the Rio Grande watershed, a key source of water in New Mexico and Texas.
According to the study, the percentage of precipitation that becomes streamflow in the Upper Rio Grande watershed has fallen more steeply than at any point in at least 445 years.
More fracking threatens public health, historic treasures
FRISCO — Oil and gas drilling in the vicinity of the treasured Chaco Culture National Historical Park poses an imminent risk to irreplaceable resources, conservation groups said as the moved to block the federal government from approving any more permits.
FRISCO — The National Park Service wants public feedback to help guide the transition in management of Valles Caldera National Preserve from the Valles Caldera Trust to the NPS. The last of three public meetings on the change is set for May 13 in Los Alamos (6-8:30 p.m. MDT, Betty Ehart Senior Center, 1101 Bathtub Row).
Population of rare birds holding steady in the wild
FRISCO — The wild California condor population may not be growing by leaps and bounds, but biologists say they’re encouraged by a recent 600-mile exploratory trip taken by one of the rare birds.
The juvenile make wandered from his home roost near the Grand Canyon and is now spending some time on national forest lands near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The same bird also spent some time on southern Colorado during the trek.
All of Arizona, New Mexico encompassed in weekend warning from National Weather Service
FRISCO — In what may signify an early start to the western wildfire season, the National Weather Service Sunday issued bulletin warning that multiple days of critical fire weather conditions are expected across the Southwest this coming week.
“A dry airmass will be in place from the Great Basin to the Plains on Sunday. Temperatures warming into the 60s and 70s with wind gusts near 35 mph and relative humidity values from 10 to 15 percent will lead to elevated to critical fire danger. These conditions will likely remain in place until mid-week. Rapid growth and spread is likely with any fires that are ignited in and around this region.”
The warning for this week is a shift away from a seasonal forecast issued last month that didn’t include any elevated early season fire danger in the region. Parts of the Southwest saw some relief from a multi-year drought this winter, but overall, the region is still dry and fire danger can be significant even during normal precipitation years.
The areas with the highest potential for dangerous fires extends from southeastern California through southern Nevada, southeastern Utah, far western Colorado and covers nearly all of Arizona and much of New Mexico.
Both New Mexico and Arizona saw their largest wildfires on record during the past several years, including the 2011 Wallow Fire in Arizona, which burned across half a million acres (about 841 square miles). In New Mexico, the 2011 Las Conchas Fire burned about 150,000 acres, following by the Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire in 2012 in Catron County, New Mexico, which scorched nearly 300,000 acres.
Lawsuit also says feds ignored climate impacts of new oil and gas development
FRISCO — Community and environmental activists are waging an all-out battle to keep oil and gas drilling at bay in the Chaco Canyon region of northwestern New Mexico, an area with cultural and historic values of global importance, under UNESCO’s World Heritage designation.