The US Army Corps of Engineers has decided against sending a big spring pulse down the Rio Grande this year because there simply isn’t enough water.
When water has been available in past years, the agency has stored some spring runoff in Cochiti Reservoir, releasing it in a several-day high flow pulse to help provide spawning flows for the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. But this year’s forecast was so grim that the agency decided against what’s known in water management jargon as a “deviation”, Corps water ops manager Ryan Gronewold told me today.
In fact, there’s at least a chance that we’ve already seen the peak flow through Albuquerque for the spring. The flow briefly got above 2,000 cubic feet per second last week, and is now down around 1,200 cfs at the Central Avenue bridge. (USGS data here)