August 24, 2021 at 10:57 pm #775
Set out your lawn chair and enjoy being with your equines as they graze on belly high grasses and weeds at the Stable. At our fourth Wine and Weeds Walk our guest speaker was Kelly Brook Smith, Barn 24, who is managing attorney for Northern NM and Pecos Adjudication Bureaus, Office of the State Engineer. Kelly’s presentation focused on “Water Rights in NM: Why Should I Care?”
Conservation of water is part of everyday life at Eldorado. Residents consume an average of only 69 gallons per capita per day (GPCD), all drawn from our local aquifer. Total withdrawals in NM, from ground and surface waters, totaled 3,114,255 acre feet in 2015. To provide perspective, Kelly quized us on how many gallons are in one acre foot of water: 325, 851 gallons. That’s a lot of one gallon water jugs!
Through maps, charts and stories, Kelly continued, presenting numerous topics, including the extent of severe to exceptional drought in NM (on a scale of 0-4, NM is D2-D4); identifying which NM counties are dependent on surface and/or ground water; the Colorado River diversion, from its tributary San Juan River, into the Rio Grande, via its tributary Rio ChamaRiver; and how water is used in NM.
Under water rights in the West, all beneficial uses are equal. In NM, water is used for public water supply, 9.12%; self-supplied domestic, 0.90%; irrigated agriculture, 76.3%; livestock, 1.16%; commercial 1.85%; industrial 0.28%; mining 1.36%; power 1.62%; and evaporation from reservoirs, 7.42% (2015 numbers). Occassionally, beneficial use becomes exploitation, such as a case that Kelly has worked on, where a public ground water supply was being sold for commercial use, creating a public water deficit, with no apparent alternative source for fulfilling public demand for water.
In our water region–the Rio Grande River Basin–equitable apportionment of water has been subject to international, federal, and interstate negotiation and litigation. Federal agencies have built many NM reservoirs, authorizing its first, Elephant Butte Reservoir in 1905, to help fulfill the 1906 Mexican Treaty. NM annual flow obligations to Texas and Mexico are set by flow at the Otowi gauge (near Otowi bridge). Deliveries are measured at a gauge below the Elephant Butte Reservoir dam. This reservoir reached a record low this year, becoming only 3% full. Currently NM has a 43 billion gallon defiict to downstream users under the 1939 Rio Grande Compact. Texas is pursuing litigation over water deliveries from NM in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thank you, Kelly, for being a front line defender of water rights in NM. Many of our hay growers in NM, CO, and AZ continue to be impacted by this extended drought, experiencing water shortages for irrigation. Monsoon rains this summer have provided some relief, including boosting the amount of water available for Compact delivery.
I also thank Liz Mathews for creating the promotional flier; Amelia Adair for providing refreshments, emailing the flier to our members, and providing general encouragement; and Kelly Brook Smith for being our master laminator of fliers. Many thanks also extend to Kelly’s family for their support: her spouse Jason Smith and their daughters Brooke and Kate.August 25, 2021 at 4:52 pm #776
In their Weed of the Month Series, the Conservation Committee featured “Weed Potpourri: Field Bindweed, Scotch Thistle and Musk Thistle, Dalmation Toadflax, and Sweet Clover.” To view this article by Carol Beidleman, in the August issue of Vistas, go to https:eldorado.org, under the “News and Events” tab.November 13, 2021 at 3:14 am #779
With the growing season mostly completed, our equines are still eager to assist with weed management through grazing the dried weeds, either standing or pulled. They especially like to highgrade their mouthfuls, by eating the weeds seeds still on the plants. Graze On!
The Greenspace Task Force thanks all who have worked on improving the grounds and habitat at the Stable. You have made this effort enjoyable and effective. Your hand grazing your equines, along with targeted hand pulling, weed whacking, and mowing, have significantly depleted the weed seed base here. Plus, your efforts have significantly reduced the the mowing and weed whacking by ECIA Maintenance Crew around the barns and arenas. In the arroyo, the expanded Stable trail system has become a community favorite–supported through your abundant hand pulling of unwanted weeds competing with grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees. Thank You, All–Equines and Humans!November 13, 2021 at 3:37 am #780
The ECIA Conservation Committee continued their Weed of the Month articles in Vistas, addressing Salt Cedar, in the September issue, and Russian Olive, in October. The Stable does not have either of these trees, but appreciates the information and will remove any seedlings that may appear on our grounds.
In their final article in the series, Conservation published “At End of Growing Season,” with suggestions for preparing landscape and habitat during the fall and winter. Check it out! To view this series, with articles written by Thomas Bredenberg and Carol Beidleman, go to https:eldorado.org, click on the News and Events tab, then Vistas Newsletter, 2021. Thank you, Thomas and Carol, for all the assistance and inspiration that you have given the Stable community. We look forward to continuining our work with you as the seasons unfold.
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