A Warming Climate Takes a Toll on the Vanishing Rio Grande

Meanwhile invasive Russian olive and tamarisk trees have moved in beneath the canopy, all fire-prone species. Fires in the bosque were once virtually nonexistent; now they routinely break out. In 2017, the Tiffany fire in southern New Mexico roared across the parched landscape, leaving more than 9,000 acres of riparian cottonwood forest a charred ruin.

Because of levees built to contain its flow, the Rio Grande now courses mostly through a narrow channel, rather than expanding broadly across the landscape, which disconnects the main stem from its many side channels. That has eliminated much of the meandering sloughs, braids, and oxbows, which are habitat for the silvery minnow, once present

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