Friday, February 15, 2013
Rio Bosque Dry Again
Please sign the Complete Streets Petition. A complete street “will accommodate all road users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. Complete streets might include sidewalks, bike lanes, cycle tracks, wide paved shoulders, special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible transit stops, frequent crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, or curb extensions.” Get information and sign the petition. Scroll down the page; there are links to much more information. Bike Texas has complete streets as part of their legislative agenda which also includes safe passing and a ban on texting while driving.
And while we are on the subject of Bike Texas, be sure to read an article by our own Beth Nobles, Executive Director of Texas Mountain Trail. She writes about a way to earn dollars for a favorite charity through a new iPhone or Android app called Charity Miles.” The program is for walkers, runners and bikers. Beth is also the oomph behind Peak Fitness Challenge along with Don Baumgardt of GeoBetty. Keeping El Paso naturally means keeping our Trans-Pecos/Southwestern New Mexico region naturally and fit as well. (And charitable.)
For great hikes and events just check out El Paso Hiking Group, GeoBetty, Guadalupe Mountains National Park Meetup Group, Las Cruces & El Paso Adventurists, Peak Fitness Challenge, High Desert Hikers and Las Cruces Hiking Meetup.
Sad to report that effluent to the Rio Bosque has stopped. On top of that, in spite of the water district’s finally allowing the transfer of water rights to the Bosque by private landowners, there are apparently still some hold-ups. Charlie Wakeem chronicles his attempts to transfer his water rights and I make some comments in a blog post today: When a Water Right Isn’t a Water Right. El Paso Water Improvement District General Manager Chuy Reyes visited Senator Rodriguez’s Environmental Committee and answered their questions yesterday. I was in attendance. Here’s the bottom line: The Board of the Water District should give Mr. Reyes a raise. He is discharging his fiduciary responsibility by serving his customers – those small tract owners and large farmers who pay to have their land irrigated. Given the drought, every drop is dedicated and directed toward paying customers. Thus, the Bosque is not going to get any more water even after a turnout is constructed from the canal into the Bosque. They may get water in wet years to come – but not now. Moreover, people with water rights will discover that they won’t be successful giving their water to the Bosque. If they aren’t going to use it, then the paying customers are first in line. This means that the only way that the Bosque can be guaranteed a regular supply of water is for the EPWU (which now holds the Bosque in its inventory of land) to deliver the water directly from the Bustamante plant by constructing a nearly half-million dollar pipeline – chump change really. EPWU dumps water from the plant into the District’s waterway because it is obligated to give so much water back to the District and because it cannot now deal with some of its excess. That excess (if it becomes purple pipe water) can go to the Bosque. The water district will lose it – but then they could have given some of that free water to the Bosque without converting it to purple pipe water.
One more thought. Farmers around here raise some pretty water intensive crops: cotton and pecans come to mind. Both crops are quite profitable than other crops that require less water. So for the gain of immediate profit and personal enrichment, some farmers in our area will impoverish future generations of water. Here’s the thought: perhaps water districts by law should have to go to a tiered system of billing just as the EPWU does with you and me. If I use a little bit of water, I buy it at a pretty good rate. If I leap into the next tier of water use, then my rate more than doubles. Water conservation would be encouraged. Remember the Iroquois maxim: “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” This beats the heck out of that slogan that says that “he who dies with the most toys wins.”
I have said just about all that I can say about the ASARCO stacks. You can read my final (probably, maybe penultimate) blog post for now.
If you want a recreational and educational excursion in the El Paso/Las Cruces area, sign up for one of the Back by Noon events sponsored by the Southwest Environmental Center. See a Back by Noon poster.
Not just a coffee table book – Cacti of Texas by El Pasoans, Gertrude and Ad Konings, should be in the library of every Chihuahuan Desert recreationalist.
El Paso history comes alive with Melissa Sargent and Jackson Polk every Saturday morning from 10 to Noon on the El Paso History Radio Show on KTSM AM 690 Talk Radio. Tomorrow morning Melissa and Jackson welcome some Harvey Girls and hear about their role in railroad history. They will also speak with President Dehrkoop and a master mistress re-enactor, Patricia Kiddney, who will portray several of the old West famous women. On February 16 El Paso City Manger Joyce Wilson is on hour one of the show to talk about preservation of downtown buildings.
Do also visit and like on Facebook Old West El Paso Town. Henry Flores writes: The site “has been created to show and spread the word of the long overdue proposal for the creation of a western town attraction in the heart of our historic city of El Paso, Texas. “Old West El Paso Town” will be built in replica of 1800's downtown South El Paso Street with several historic structures . . . that sadly no longer exist . . . [It] will house small shops, eats and non-stop entertainment.”
Finally and sadly we note the passing of Kathy Goodell, the wife of Dr. Phil Goodell. Read her obituary. You will recall that the Goodells recently gave $1 million to UTEP’s College of Science for a center of entrepreneurial geosciences.