What is in this article?:
- Drought relief for most of New Mexico
- Rain still needed in parts of the state
Monsoon rains in the mountains in July and Aug. and heavy Sept. rains have brought drought relief to most areas of New Mexico. More rained needed for spring planting season.
Rain still needed in parts of the state
Southeastern New Mexico received the greatest level of relief from recent rains, but south central areas of the state still need more rain. Elephant Butte, the largest water storage reservoir on the Rio Grande River, which holds two million acre feet of water, gained more than 50,000 acre feet in recent storms. While reservoir levels rose 4.4 percent full to 5.9 percent full over a five-day period, additional recovery is needed before spring planting.
New Mexico officials say the rains over the last 45 days have benefited New Mexico in a number of ways. In addition to replenishing or raising levels in reservoirs across the state, heavy rains just ahead of hunting season could go a long way in providing better forage for wildlife.
Another benefit from extreme drought conditions is lowering the potential for wildfires across the state. The summer months were another destructive time for wildfires for much of the Southwest and the fire threat has been greatly reduced as a result of heavy rains and higher humidity across New Mexico.
Officials say other benefits include less competition at streams and ponds between livestock, wild horses and other wildlife, and could be beneficial in curbing the threat of animal diseases like those spread by feral hogs and rabid animals.
While flood water caused damage in a number of state parks and recreational areas earlier this month, state park officials report most facilities have re-opened to the public. In addition, flood water caused several breaches in dams across northern areas of the state but most work on those dams is either complete or nearing completion.
In spite of raging flood waters and other problems associated with the rains, most farmers and ranchers across the state are pleased to have received substantial relief but hope more rain falls in the weeks leading up to spring planting.