drought

Turquoise Table via Flickr / Creative Commons


Let’s Talk New Mexico 9/9 8 am:It's chile season, and many of us are celebrating the return of New Mexico’s favorite crop. Green chile lies at the heart of so much of our state’s culture and identity that it’s hard to imagine what life would be like without it. And yet, chile is by no means assured of a prosperous future. COVID and changing immigration policies have created a labor shortage of chile harvesters, and human-caused climate change has resulted in drought conditions that threaten the very existence of chile verde. On the next Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll be digging into the issues facing this iconic New Mexican food.

 

If you’re trying to stock up on ice for a backyard get-together or river trip, you may have to plan ahead. Stores in states including Idaho, Colorado and Montana are having ice shortages and capping how many bags you can buy.

Some ice companies are doing just fine. But many others are struggling to keep up with demand.

When you call the national chain Reddy Ice, a robotic voice tells you, “Due to unprecedented demand and nationwide labor shortages, you may experience longer than average hold and delivery times.”

Meeting Climate Challenges Through Soil

Jul 26, 2021
Esha Chioccio

Hardly a day goes by without a terrifying reminder that the earth’s climate is in crisis. The Southwest is in a mega-drought and fires are erupting around the West. But there are people working to stop climate change, including many in New Mexico.  

KUNM’s Zélie Pollon talks with Santa Fe Photographer Esha Chiocchio who has created the Good Earth Project. It documents agriculturists throughout the state battling climate change by regenerating soils.

A coalition of elected officials, farmers, conservationists and tribal leaders gathered at the Hoover Dam Thursday and called on lawmakers to place a moratorium on “wasteful” new pipelines or dams that would divert water from the parched Colorado River. The announcement came as a severe drought deepens across the West and as a massive infrastructure bill is slowly moving through Congress.

During years with average or above-average precipitation, both black and grizzly bears in the Mountain West are pretty good at finding food, whether that's insects, berries, or root-like plants. But those natural food sources are vulnerable to drought. It doesn't help that hot and dry conditions of historic levels are currently gripping the region.

Hans via Pixabay

  The Colorado River provides water to 40 million people around the West, including New Mexico, but the historic drought gripping our region has prompted a 20 percent drop in flows in the river. Reservoirs are drying, with Lake Mead at its lowest levels since it was filled in the 1930s. As scientists incorporate these changes into future projections, an article in Science magazine urges them to plan for even greater declines in the river.

U.S. Drought Monitor (map); Santa Fe National Forest (background)

New Mexico is experiencing its highest drought levels in the month of May since 2013. More than 77% of the state was in extreme and exceptional drought – the two worst categories – last week. And that’s down from the beginning of the month. Only about 4% of the state was this drought stricken at this time last year. KUNM’s Nash Jones spoke with Julie Anne Overton, Public Affairs Officer for the Santa Fe National Forest, about what this looks like on ground, and how you can prepare to get outdoors safely this summer.

Dylan McLaughlin

What is the sound of a river in crisis? That’s what a group of artists explore in an installation opening online at the University of New Mexico Art Museum on World Water Day, March 22nd.

University Showcase, Friday, 12/18 8a: New Mexico and the Southwest are grappling with profound impacts brought by climate change and those will only get worse, so how are we preparing? Journalist Laura Paskus has covered New Mexico’s environment for years and in her new book from University of New Mexico Press, “At The Precipice: New Mexico’s Changing Climate,” she explores the realities of climate change and the havoc it has been wreaking for years in the state.

Paul Tashjian, Audubon New Mexico


Let's Talk New Mexico 8/11 8a: The Navajo community of To'Hajiilee faces severe water shortages and has worked with Bernalillo County to find a way to pipe in water from Albuquerque. But a land development company stands in the way. On this week’s Let’s Talk New Mexico, we'll discuss the To'Hajiilee water crisis, plus the aftereffects of the 2015 Gold King Mine spill and this year’s dramatic increase in water use in New Mexico's largest city.

As the country turned its attention toward the pandemic, something else was creeping into the Mountain West: drought conditions.

A recent study shows that humans have been living in a specific temperature "niche" for at least 6,000 years, but climate change could force billions of people to live in areas outside of the niche by 2070. That could be intolerably hot, even lethal, for many of them.  

A new study in the journal Science says that human-driven climate change is pushing the American West into a megadrought, and into its driest period in more than 400 years.

 


NMDA Launches Pilot Program To Support Healthy Soil

Oct 2, 2019
Jing via Pixabay / Creative Commons License 2.0

 

The Healthy Soil Act was signed into law earlier this year and it created a grant of $175,000 for farmers and ranchers to maintain soil health by doing things like: keeping the soil covered, maximizing biodiversity, and integrating animals into land management.

Let's Talk New Mexico's Wet Spring

May 22, 2019
OpenThreads via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Let's Talk New Mexico 5/23 8a: Higher than average rainfall and snowpack means we're experiencing one of its wettest springs in decades. The Rio Grande is running ten times higher than it was at this time during last year's drought. So much water increases flood risks and challenges us to remain conservation minded. Has all the rain changed your plans for farming or planting gardens? How are you remaining water conscious? Do you plan to go river rafting or sailing on one of our state’s lakes this year? Email LetsTalk@KUNM.org, tweet us using the hashtag #LetsTalkNM or call in live during the show.

Megan Kamerick

  University Showcase, 12/21 8a: Climate change is not theoretical in New Mexico. It's here and already having serious impacts on our communities. Professor David Gutzler says we have no choice but to adapt and incorporate this reality into our policies statewide. 

Rivers Struggle Around The State

Jul 5, 2018
Marisa Demarco / KUNM

People around the state are used to seeing the flows in local rivers fluctuate. But this year, sandbars have started to widen and connect, and riverbanks are growing by yards. In some places down South, it’s completely dry for miles. KUNM caught up with journalist Laura Paskus of the New Mexico Political Report in a dry patch of the Rio Grande on Thursday morning. 

Wildfire Season And Drought Pressure People, Wildlife

Apr 17, 2018
Melorie Begay

New Mexico’s wildfire season started off early this year, and spring winds could make it worse. For people living near forests, this means preparing for potential evacuations and fire proofing homes. But, for wildlife, there’s a lot we don’t really know. 

Laura Paskus

As high winds whipped dust, Siberian elm seeds and recycling bins around Albuquerque Thursday afternoon, dozens of people filed into the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Albuquerque office to hear the agency’s 2018 forecast for the Rio Grande.

“I’ll be the bearer of bad news,” said Reclamation’s Albuquerque Area Manager Jennifer Faler. “This is the most extreme shift we’ve had from one operating plan meeting to another.”

That Little Bit Of Rain Didn't Do Much

Jan 12, 2018
JadeXJustice via Flickr / Creative Commons

We got some rain this week in New Mexico. It ended a 96-day dry streak in Albuquerque. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need a lot more rain and snow.

“We’re so far behind, that really all that we saw was not going to do much, really anything, to the state of the drought in NM,” said Royce Fontenot, a senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

Rio Grande Hydrologists Worried After July Heat

Aug 3, 2016
Laura Paskus/New Mexico In Depth

During the irrigation season in New Mexico, the Rio Grande is allowed to go completely dry in some stretches. Even Saturday’s intense thunderstorm in Albuquerque hasn’t sustained flows in some regions of the river south of the city.

U.S. Drought Mitigation Center

Drought conditions across much of New Mexico have been improving. According to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor report, 55 percent of the state is in moderate to severe drought. That’s down from 97 percent at this time last year.  

This May is already one of the wettest Mays on record in Albuquerque. Climatologist David Dubois says forecasts are showing above average rainfall will continue for most of New Mexico.

Watering Restrictions Crimp Daytime Sprinklers

Apr 1, 2015
Karen Roe via Compfight

Watering restrictions are officially in effect for many New Mexicans.

Starting Wednesday, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority customers are prohibited from using sprinklers between 11a and 7p. 

Katherine Yuhas, Water Conservation Officer at the utility, said predictions for a moist spring and summer mean they could bank water in the aquifer by leaving it in the ground instead of pumping it.

Wet Spring Weather On The Way

Mar 18, 2015
Brian DePalo via flickr

New Mexico is on track for some much needed drought relief according to the National Weather Service spring forecast.

Andrew Church is an NWS meteorologist and said a combination of warm coastal waters and a shift in trade winds from last week’s tropical cyclones will deliver higher than average precipitation across the state.

“It’s a wet scenario for us, something we haven’t seen in at least four years so,” Church explained. “If you were thinking about investing in rain barrels, this would be a good year to do it!”

dharma communications via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The most abundant types of forest in New Mexico are made up of piñon and juniper trees.

A five-year inventory of the state's forested lands shows the popular trees cover more than 13.6 million acres.

The inventory also shows piñon woodlands that are old enough to produce harvest-worthy quantities of pine nuts occupy about 8 million acres in New Mexico.

National Drought Mitigation Center

    

We’ve gotten some rain recently in New Mexico, but that doesn’t mean the drought is letting up. Climatologists say it’s going to take more than just a sprinkle or two.

Extreme drought conditions are actually spreading in parts of New Mexico, despite the arrival of monsoon storms. A new map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows drought conditions worsening, especially in San Juan and Rio Arriba counties.

Favorable Weather May Slow Wildfire

Jun 30, 2014
Rita Daniels

UPDATE 7/2 11:30a: The Associated Press reports a wildfire burning in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains continues to expand but officials say expected favorable weather may help.

Officials said Wednesday morning says the lightning-sparked Diego Fire has burned more than five square miles, an increase of about 400 acres since Tuesday.

However, the fire remained zero percent contained.

Still, some residents say they felt isolated and uninformed about the fire's dangers. And ranchers who have livestock roaming in the fire area are worried about their cattle.

How About That Storm Thursday Night?

Jul 26, 2013
Nathan Orona

I have always associated the word "monsoon" with India. Conversely, words like "arid" and "parched" I associate with the Southwestern United States, not just as descriptions, but as central facts about the regions.

These associations are incorrect.

Navajo Nation Declares Drought Emergency

Jul 2, 2013
Margaret Hiza-Redsteer, USGS Flagstaff, AZ / USGS

Navajo President Ben Shelley has declared a state of emergency for drought conditions on the Navajo Nation. Officials are concerned ongoing drought may be creating unsafe conditions for people who need drinkable water.

Drought Expected To Continue To August

Apr 3, 2013

A dry winter, strong winds, and above average temperatures have caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declared much of the state to be in a drought emergency.
Jeff Witte with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture says that farmers with the ability to pump groundwater will be able to plant some crops this year. However, Witte says he's optimistic that farmers and ranchers in New Mexico will be able to continue providing viable crops to the state

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