Laura Paskus http://kunm.org en Will The Gila River Stay Wild In New Mexico? http://kunm.org/post/will-gila-river-stay-wild-new-mexico <p>Before the end of the year New Mexico officials will have to make a decision about water development in the state—they’ll decide what will happen to the Gila River. It’s a decision that’s been ten years in the making. But as details emerge, some lawmakers and scientists are worried about the future of New Mexico’s last free flowing river.</p><p>We’re standing on the banks of the northern Rio Grande, about forty miles downstream of Colorado. We’re next to a small diversion which waters some pasture and a garden in the village of Pilar, N.M.</p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:46:44 +0000 Laura Paskus 42087 at http://kunm.org Will The Gila River Stay Wild In New Mexico? Funding Would Boost Native Youth Suicide Prevention http://kunm.org/post/funding-would-boost-native-youth-suicide-prevention <p style="margin-bottom: 24px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;"><span style="font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>In the fall of 2009, four young people in the southeastern part of the state died by suicide. Three were Mescalero Apaches.</p> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 17:50:07 +0000 Laura Paskus & New Mexico In Depth 40204 at http://kunm.org Funding Would Boost Native Youth Suicide Prevention Refuge Hosts More Than Sandhill Cranes http://kunm.org/post/refuge-hosts-more-sandhill-cranes <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In Socorro County this week, the <a href="http://www.festivalofthecranes.com/">Festival of the Cranes</a> draws thousands of tourists. Sandhill cranes and snow geese draw the big crowds, but the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge hosts more than just migrating birds.</span></p><p>Six sandhill cranes swirl above us, deciding whether or not they’re going to land. We’re standing at a pullout along Highway 1, south of San Antonio, New Mexico.</p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 04:36:25 +0000 Laura Paskus 37941 at http://kunm.org Refuge Hosts More Than Sandhill Cranes In New Mexico Climate Change is More of the Same http://kunm.org/post/new-mexico-climate-change-more-same <p></p><p></p><p>Last week, the United Nations <a href="http://www.ipcc.ch/">Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change</a> (IPCC) released a report from the world&rsquo;s top climate scientists detailing everything from extreme drought to rising sea levels.</p><p>For decades, the IPCC has collected information about changes in the climate over time and improved models predicting future changes. One of the scientists who worked on the <a href="http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/#.Ukn4ahCN9ZY">Fifth Assessment Report</a> is the University of New Mexico&rsquo;s David Gutzler.</p> Mon, 30 Sep 2013 23:52:43 +0000 Laura Paskus 35686 at http://kunm.org In New Mexico Climate Change is More of the Same Drought Tests the Rio Grande http://kunm.org/post/drought-tests-rio-grande <p></p><p><strong><em>&nbsp;Editor&#39;s Note: This piece originally aired in April, 2013 on KUNM.&nbsp;</em></strong></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The muddy waters of the Rio Grande are still flowing through Albuquerque. But New Mexico is in the grip of long-term drought and there&rsquo;s little water left in upstream reservoirs. That means this summer will probably be like last year&mdash;when 52 miles of the Rio Grande dried up south of Albuquerque.</span></p> Fri, 05 Apr 2013 12:30:50 +0000 Laura Paskus 27333 at http://kunm.org Drought Tests the Rio Grande Activists Seek Public Hearing On WIPP Changes http://kunm.org/post/activists-seek-public-hearing-wipp-changes <p>Earlier this month, the New Mexico Environment Department gave the federal government the green light to ship “hot,” remote handled waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in a new type of container. &nbsp;</p><p>Since 1999, transuranic waste from nuclear weapons manufacturing has been stored in salt caverns a half-mile below the surface of the earth at WIPP in southern New Mexico.</p> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 00:00:00 +0000 Laura Paskus 21554 at http://kunm.org Rio Grande could join 'ghost rivers' of the Southwest http://kunm.org/post/rio-grande-could-join-ghost-rivers-southwest <p><em>The Rio Grande ran low and dry this year.&nbsp; That was bad news for fish and for farmers. And it’s unlikely that relief is in sight: Reservoirs are low and climate change is here.</em></p><p><em>In the second of this two part series, KUNM &nbsp;takes a look at the Rio Grande—which one advocate worries might someday be a “ghost river.”</em></p><p>Janet Jarratt runs a dairy in Valencia County, south of Albuquerque. Farmers work harder than anyone she knows. &nbsp;And making a living is even tougher during dry years, she says, when farmers don’t know if they’ll get their water.</p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 23:00:53 +0000 Laura Paskus 20488 at http://kunm.org Rio Grande could join 'ghost rivers' of the Southwest Officials still mum on hazardous release in Santa Teresa http://kunm.org/post/officials-still-mum-hazardous-release-santa-teresa <p></p><p></p><p>Just before nine o clock this morning, people living or working near the Santa Teresa Industrial Park received a call from authorities. They were told to remain indoors and seal windows and vents.</p><p>By noon, 200 people had been evacuated to the local high school. People were having a hard time breathing, were feeling light-headed, nauseous and dizzy.&nbsp; And they were treated for exposure to an "unknown substance." About that time, hazmat teams began moving into the area to test air quality.</p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 22:50:10 +0000 Laura Paskus 20599 at http://kunm.org Officials still mum on hazardous release in Santa Teresa Rare fish not faring well in the Rio Grande http://kunm.org/post/rare-fish-not-faring-well-rio-grande <p></p><p></p><p>At the end of October, the Rio Grande in Los Lunas is crunchy.</p><p>Except for a few crows and one sandhill crane flying high above, the skies are quiet. There’s no water here, and no reason for cranes or ducks to land. Up and down the riverbed, there’s only sand.</p><p>This time of year, Mike Hatch is still getting out of bed at about two in the morning. Since mid-June, he’s been tracking the drying as part of the government’s River Eyes program.</p> Mon, 29 Oct 2012 23:00:00 +0000 Laura Paskus 20487 at http://kunm.org Rare fish not faring well in the Rio Grande Women's Work: From bird clubs to bans, the role of women in conservation http://kunm.org/post/womens-work-bird-clubs-bans-role-women-conservation <p>It’s a sunny Saturday morning at the Randall Davey Audubon Center—way up Canyon Road in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristos. Jays, chickadees, and nuthatches are all keeping a noisy watch on the feeders—and the festivities.</p><p>Audubon New Mexico is honoring Rachel Carson, whose book, <em>Silent Spring</em>, was published 50 years ago.</p><p>In her book, Carson wrote of how the pesticide DDT was killing wildlife and endangering humans. In particular, birds exposed to DDT were laying eggs with shells so thin they broke before hatching time.</p> Fri, 05 Oct 2012 22:30:00 +0000 Laura Paskus 19545 at http://kunm.org Women's Work: From bird clubs to bans, the role of women in conservation Warmer temps spur western wildifires http://kunm.org/post/warmer-temps-spur-western-wildifires <p>Western wildfires have gotten bigger—and the wildfire season is getting longer. That’s according to a new report from the nonprofit organization Climate Central.</p><p>Since the 1970’s the average number of large fires each year has doubled in many western states, including&nbsp; New Mexico.</p><p>The bigger fires are due in part to how forests have been managed.&nbsp; For much of the 20<sup>th</sup> century, forest fires were suppressed—and dry timber and vegetation built up to dangerous levels.</p><p>But climate scientists say warmer temperatures are also responsible.</p> Tue, 18 Sep 2012 23:22:44 +0000 Laura Paskus 18775 at http://kunm.org Warmer temps spur western wildifires State expands chronic wasting disease area http://kunm.org/post/state-expands-chronic-wasting-disease-area <p>This week, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish announced it’s keeping a closer eye on southern New Mexico, where some deer are infected with chronic wasting disease. That disease attacks the brain and spinal column of deer and elk, causing them to become emaciated and eventually die. &nbsp;</p><p>Chronic wasting disease isn’t widespread in New Mexico, but there are some hot zones near Cloudcroft and Alamogordo.</p> Tue, 18 Sep 2012 23:12:56 +0000 Laura Paskus 18771 at http://kunm.org State expands chronic wasting disease area Tamarisk-munching beetles travel the Rio Grande http://kunm.org/post/tamarisk-munching-beetles-travel-rio-grande <p>Head north of Albuquerque and look over toward the Rio Grande and its forest, or <em>bosque</em>. Within that green ribbon of trees, you’ll also spot leaves that are reddish brown. Even from the Interstate, the dying trees are obvious.</p><p>Those leaves belong to tamarisk, or salt cedar. More than a century ago, the trees were introduced to control erosion and act as windbreaks. But they have overtaken riverbanks across the southwestern United States, sucking up water and choking out native species like cottonwoods and willows.</p> Thu, 13 Sep 2012 23:00:00 +0000 Laura Paskus 18561 at http://kunm.org Tamarisk-munching beetles travel the Rio Grande Low Flows on the Rio Grande http://kunm.org/post/low-flows-rio-grande <p>Here, where the Alameda Bridge crosses the Rio Grande on the north side of Albuquerque, you can see what New Mexico’s weak monsoon season looks like on the ground.</p><p>The water is braided around sandbars and islands. It’s so shallow that even where the river is flowing, sand is visible just a few inches below the surface. Two Canada Geese honk beneath the bridge, then take off. When they land again, their feet are barely covered by the water.</p> Wed, 05 Sep 2012 22:53:33 +0000 Laura Paskus 18179 at http://kunm.org Low Flows on the Rio Grande New Mexico's "Hard Choices" http://kunm.org/post/new-mexicos-hard-choices <p>On Tuesday in Las Cruces, New Mexico State University hosted the 57<sup>th</sup> annual New Mexico Water Conference. This year’s conference was titled “Hard Choices” and its participants were trying to figure out how New Mexicans can adapt to water scarcity.&nbsp;</p><p>At the conference, there were federal and state water managers, scientists, activists, farmers—anyone with an interest in understanding how New Mexico’s water is managed and how it’s going to be managed in the future, as water becomes increasingly scarce.</p> Wed, 29 Aug 2012 14:05:35 +0000 Laura Paskus 17839 at http://kunm.org New Mexico's "Hard Choices" Drought dries New Mexico's largest rivers http://kunm.org/post/drought-dries-new-mexicos-largest-rivers <p>UPDATED 08-22-12, 8:00 PM:</p><p>Additional rains have reconnected flows within the stretch of the Pecos River that includes habitat for the Pecos bluntnose shiner. Biologists do not plan to conduct salvage work this week. About 30 miles of the river still remain dry.</p><p>---</p><p>This has been a dry year in New Mexico. Statewide, we’ve received only half the precipitation of average, and most of eastern New Mexico is experiencing what the <a href="http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abq/?n=drought">National Weather Service calls “extreme drought.”&nbsp;</a></p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 22:30:00 +0000 Laura Paskus 17501 at http://kunm.org Drought dries New Mexico's largest rivers The legacy of uranium on the Navajo reservation http://kunm.org/post/legacy-uranium-navajo-reservation <p>In 1979, a dam at a uranium mine collapsed. More than 90 million gallons of radioactive waste shot down the Rio Puerco.</p><p>It was the largest release of radioactive material in United States history. And it happened in Church Rock, on the Navajo reservation in northwestern New Mexico.</p><p>No comprehensive health studies were done to learn how the spill might have affected people living nearby.</p><p>Now, Reps. Ben Ray Luján, Edward J. Markey, Henry A. Waxman, and Frank Pallone are asking for a formal update on a study that Congress authorized four years ago.</p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 05:08:54 +0000 Laura Paskus 17456 at http://kunm.org The legacy of uranium on the Navajo reservation Bingaman hears New Mexico climate change testimony http://kunm.org/post/bingaman-hears-new-mexico-climate-change-testimony <p>New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman, D, was in Santa Fe today, listening to testimony about the impacts of climate change. During a field hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the senator heard what’s happening on the ground in New Mexico.</p><p>In his testimony, Governor Walter Dasheno of Santa Clara Pueblo pointed out that climate change contributed to last year’s Las Conchas fire. That fire burned more than 150,000 acres in the Jemez Mountains.</p> Fri, 17 Aug 2012 21:10:25 +0000 Laura Paskus 17287 at http://kunm.org Bingaman hears New Mexico climate change testimony Energy Department report highlights wind industry http://kunm.org/post/energy-department-report-highlights-wind-industry <p>Although the wind energy industry in the United States is below the peak it hit three years ago, 2011 was still a pretty good year.</p><p>According to the U.S. Department of Energy&rsquo;s annual market report<em>, </em>last year, wind power accounted for about one-third of the nation&rsquo;s new sources of electricity. &nbsp;And much of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms last year came from domestic factories.</p><p>Almost three-quarters of the wind turbines, towers, blades, and generators were made within the U.S. &nbsp;That number is double what it was in 2005.</p> Wed, 15 Aug 2012 22:52:06 +0000 Laura Paskus 17173 at http://kunm.org Energy Department report highlights wind industry FWS orders "lethal removal" of Mexican Gray Wolf http://kunm.org/post/fws-orders-lethal-removal-mexican-gray-wolf <p>UPDATED 8/12/12. 3:15 pm</p><p>The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescinded its lethal removal order for AF1188. The agency has agreed to allow the Arizona-based <a href="http://southwestwildlife.org/">Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center</a> to provide permanent sanctuary to the female wolf.</p><p>--</p><p>Earlier this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Albuquerque ordered the killing of a Mexican Gray Wolf whose pack is responsible for the killing of four head of cattle within the past year.</p> Fri, 10 Aug 2012 22:44:42 +0000 Laura Paskus 16913 at http://kunm.org FWS orders "lethal removal" of Mexican Gray Wolf At 68, Smokey Bear's message still resonates http://kunm.org/post/68-smokey-bears-message-still-resonates <p>This week, an American icon celebrates his birthday: Smokey Bear is turning 68.</p><p>He&rsquo;s still a spry old guy, kept alive by the Ad Council and the US Forest Service. It&rsquo;s New Mexico&rsquo;s forests that have been taking a hammering. In 2011, the Las Conchas Fire was the largest in state history. Then this year, the Whitewater-Baldy Fire in the Gila National Forest doubled its record. This summer also saw the state&rsquo;s most destructive wildfire, the Little Bear Fire near Ruidoso.</p><p>But believe it or not, there&rsquo;s good news.</p> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 14:09:02 +0000 Laura Paskus 16657 at http://kunm.org At 68, Smokey Bear's message still resonates Groups seek clean energy standard in New Mexico http://kunm.org/post/groups-seek-clean-energy-standard-new-mexico <p>On Thursday, 33 organizations asked the state&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.nmprc.state.nm.us/index.html">Public Regulation Commission</a> (PRC) to create a new &quot;clean energy standard&quot; to reduce carbon emissions in New Mexico.</p><p>The groups include the American Lung Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility &nbsp;and a number of environmental organizations.</p><p>Under the standard, utilities could choose to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by three percent each year.</p> Fri, 03 Aug 2012 20:17:57 +0000 Laura Paskus 16503 at http://kunm.org Groups seek clean energy standard in New Mexico State fears federal control of groundwater http://kunm.org/post/state-fears-federal-control-groundwater <p>A legal battle over water in the lower Rio Grande has New Mexico accusing the federal government of trying to take control of the state&rsquo;s groundwater.</p><p>In a filing in the Third District Court in Las Cruces recently, the Bureau of Reclamation said it should be able to pump groundwater when it needs to deliver water in the Rio Grande to downstream users, such as farmers.</p><p>That raised the hackles of New Mexico state legislators, and others, including the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer. That office controls the state&rsquo;s groundwater.</p> Thu, 02 Aug 2012 15:15:50 +0000 Laura Paskus 16418 at http://kunm.org State fears federal control of groundwater Bigger storms mean bigger punch into ozone layer http://kunm.org/post/bigger-storms-mean-bigger-punch-ozone-layer <p>The journal <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2012/07/25/science.1222978"><em>Science</em></a> has just published a new study from scientists at Harvard University showing how a rise in global temperatures is helping to destroy the ozone layer.</p> Tue, 31 Jul 2012 01:41:35 +0000 Laura Paskus 16311 at http://kunm.org Bigger storms mean bigger punch into ozone layer Drilling delayed at Kirtland http://kunm.org/post/drilling-delayed-kirtland <p>The <em>Albuquerque Journal</em> reports that the drilling of monitoring wells at Kirtland Air Force Base has been delayed until later this year. The monitoring wells are being drilled in order to determine the extent of contamination from a leak of about 24 million gallons of jet fuel.</p><p>One of the two contractors drilling the wells has gone out of business.</p><p>According to the story, available <a href="http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/07/27/news/new-wells-to-monitor-jet-fuel-leak-delayed.html">online</a>:</p> Sun, 29 Jul 2012 14:37:20 +0000 Laura Paskus & Albuquerque Journal 16252 at http://kunm.org Drilling delayed at Kirtland Signs of life in the Gila National Forest http://kunm.org/post/signs-life-gila-national-forest <p>Even after the flames have died down, the impacts of a wildfire persist. Without tree and grass roots to absorb rainfall and hold soil in place, flooding can be a big problem.</p><p>In the wake of the Whitewater-Baldy Fire&mdash;which burned almost 300,000 acres in southwestern New Mexico&mdash;officials in the Gila National Forest have been working to get ahead of the summer rains and next year&rsquo;s snowmelt.</p> Wed, 25 Jul 2012 15:23:32 +0000 Laura Paskus 16074 at http://kunm.org Signs of life in the Gila National Forest Hot springs transferred to Pueblo of Taos http://kunm.org/post/hot-springs-transferred-pueblo-taos <p>In northern New Mexico, a sacred site has been returned to its indigenous community.</p><p>On&nbsp; July 14, the Taos Land Trust officially transferred the Ponce de León Hot Springs to the Pueblo of Taos.</p><p>Now, the springs will be protected from any future development and also remain open to the general public. &ldquo;This kind of partnership is very rare in the conservation community,&rdquo; says Patricia Quintana, executive director of Taos Land Trust.</p> Mon, 23 Jul 2012 16:23:19 +0000 Laura Paskus 15973 at http://kunm.org Hot springs transferred to Pueblo of Taos Santa Fe National Forest plans to release travel map http://kunm.org/post/santa-fe-national-forest-plans-release-travel-map <p>The Santa Fe National Forest is expected to come out with a map this fall that tells visitors where they can and cannot travel with motorized vehicles such as trucks and all terrain vehicles.</p><p>All national forests are required to create what are called &quot;travel management plans&quot; to control the impacts of motorized vehicles on natural resources.</p> Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:55:36 +0000 Laura Paskus & The Santa Fe New Mexican 15969 at http://kunm.org Santa Fe National Forest plans to release travel map Cibola County added to list of drought disaster areas http://kunm.org/post/cibola-county-added-list-drought-disaster-areas <div><p><span id="_oneup" style="font-size: 13px;">&nbsp;The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added a New Mexico county to its list of primary natural disaster areas due to drought and excessive heat.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup" style="font-size: 13px;">Cibola County joins 39 counties in eight states in the latest designation Wednesday.</span></p> Thu, 19 Jul 2012 14:33:43 +0000 Laura Paskus & The Associated Press 15803 at http://kunm.org Cibola County added to list of drought disaster areas Saving fish from a drying river http://kunm.org/post/saving-fish-drying-river <p>The monsoon rains arrived this month, but it&rsquo;s still hot and dry in New Mexico.</p><p>The ongoing drought is placing stress on the state&rsquo;s rivers and streams, including the Rio Grande. And while cities and farmers still receive their shares of water, each summer, one user gets left out&mdash;the Rio Grande itself. Like it has every summer for the past decade, the Rio Grande downstream of Albuquerque is drying.</p> Wed, 18 Jul 2012 21:48:59 +0000 Laura Paskus 15773 at http://kunm.org Saving fish from a drying river