Movie:Rio Puerco Flood 2013


Information Page: Rio Puerco Flood 2013

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Rio Puerco Flood 2013

Key Attributes

Domain: terrestrial, hydrology, environmental controls
Keywords: arroyo systems, flood, floodplain, arid regions, American west, invasive species
Model name: Animation model name
Name: Irina, Overeem
Where: Rio Puerco, New Mexico
When: September 16, 2013

Short Description

Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), Under graduate (13-16)

Statement: Flooding of the Rio Puerco, New Mexico, September 15-16, 2013

Abstract: The Rio Puerco is a tributary to the Rio Grande in New Mexico. It is a an 'ephemeral' river, meaning that it only runs water once there are larger rainstorms in its watershed, in dry times the riverbed is dry or has only small stagnant ponds of water. The small river is incised into its old floodplain and forms a small arroyo system. The river has been monitored already for a really long time, there has been a gauging station at teh location of the movie (at the Santa Fe railroad crossing) since 1913.

This movie shows the incised river system. You can see from the photo what the river looks like in dry conditions (April 2014). The movie shows the floodwater in the incised arroyo, the 8m-12m tall Tamarix trees barely stick out of the water. On September 15, 2015, the water even overtopped the valley and gushed into the nearby farm field, and water overflowed the highway.

As you can see, the floodwater is extremely muddy. This small river was a major sediment source into the Rio Grande in the early 20th century. It impacted the downstream reservoir at Elephant Butte. Tamarix, an invasive tree species, was introduced in the 1930's to reduce the sediment load of this river.




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