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Higher-than-normal water levels on the Rio Grande cause trouble upriver, but allow for more boating fun at Elephant Butte State Park.
Photo credit: —Barb Belknap 

Over-bank flooding of the Rio Grande in the Corrales Bosque

—Jennifer Hise, Clerk, Corrales Village

As of May 16, the Rio Grande has over-bank flows along several areas within the middle Rio Grande from Cochiti Dam to Elephant Butte Reservoir due to the higher than normal spring runoff, which began in late April. Water managers anticipate that high releases near five thousand cubic feet per second will continue for the next four to six weeks. Areas within the Corrales Bosque that are now flooded due to over-bank flows will continue to be inundated during this period. This is true for many areas along the 150-mile reach of the Rio Grande. Mayor Kominiak of Corrales stated: “This year’s snowpack is reminding us of how wet things normally can be. The water’s awesome, but it can be dangerous too.”

The Village of Corrales and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) recommend all trails within the flooded area not be used. There is a potential for injuries to both persons and horses. The saturated areas are very dangerous due to animal burrows, which can give way when stepped on, and very muddy areas that can lead to animals or persons being stuck or injured. In addition, existing trails will be damaged if used while saturated, potentially requiring significant resources to restore. Mike Hamman of the MRGCD says, “the District fully supports this recommended restriction in order to keep trail users safe as well as minimize damages to the trails and levee banks.”

Mayor Kominiak stated, “with river water approaching the levee in spots, it reminds us of their importance and the importance of maintaining them.” Normal use in the dry areas within the Bosque is still encouraged by both the Village of Corrales and MRCGD.

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