Water worries - Albuquerque Journal

Water worries

A photo shot June 22, 2022, shows trees around Morphy Lake State Park that were burned by the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

After years of asking the state for money to replace the dam at Morphy Lake, built in 1890, the Acequia de San Jose and the Acequia de la Isla got what they needed, and a new dam was completed in 2019.

Now, the mountain lake at the center of Morphy Lake State Park in Mora County has a new problem. Many of the trees around the lake – trees that are home to bald eagles in the winter – have been scorched by the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire, which has grown to more than 341,000 acres.

Joe Pacheco, president of the Acequia de San Jose acequia association, stands on June 22, 2022, among trees around Morphy Lake State Park burned by the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

To prevent some of the ash and debris from getting into the lake, the acequia associations hired a contractor to cut a temporary emergency modification, a diversion to redirect the lake’s water source, the Rito Morphy, around the dam and into a retention pond to help catch large debris. From there, the water continues downstream toward the acequias and communities below.

The state park, which was also renovated with the dam work, draws thousands of visitors to the area each year; it is closed right now.

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